DAWSON CREEK, BC -- In response to the issue of rising property crime in Dawson Creek, the Chamber of Commerce is helping to relaunch the Citizens on Patrol program.

Citizens on Patrol – or COPS – is a program that works with police and is endorsed by the RCMP in cities across Canada. The Chamber is providing a meeting space in Dawson Creek, and helping to fundraise for new equipment.

Back in September, the Chamber helped spearhead a meeting with police, Northern Health, and civic officials to hear concerns from the community about increasing property crime.

Some have accused local police, as well as politicians, of not doing enough to address crime. A vigilante group has even been formed.

Police in Dawson Creek discourage people from vigilante activity, which is a sentiment Kathleen Connolly, executive director of the DC Chamber of Commerce, agrees with. She says COPS provides a safer way for citizens to patrol their community, offers training, and minimizes the chances of people being hurt or incurring personal liability.

“The benefit of COPS is that they have a direct access number to the RCMP if they see an incident happening,” said Connolly. “So what they do is they’re going to record that incident as its happening, the police are going to show up, and then there’s evidence which has been gathered safely and correctly, and then the RCMP can do their job safely and correctly.”

Connolly believes the community is prepared to embrace this initiative, which she says is encouraging. She believes it’s a chance for people to come together and re-instill a sense of pride and safety within Dawson Creek.