A community crime watch group in rural Alberta is being recognized by the province with a Community Justice Award. 

The Barrhead and Area Regional Crime Coalition (B.A.R.C.C.) is a first-of-its-kind voluntary program that alerts residents with real-time-information about crime and other developments happening in their community.

“The purpose of the coalition is to take a collaborative approach to make our communities safer. Through coordinated efforts in education and awareness of crime prevention and reporting suspicious activities, B.A.R.C.C. is taking an active role in reducing crime,” the coalition’s website claims. 

Conservative MP Arnold Vierson nominated B.A.R.C.C. for the award, which the group won at the 29th annual Alberta Community Justice Awards.

The coalition was formed in association with the Barrhead RCMP, Barrhead & District Rural Crime Watch, the County of Barrhead and the Town of Barrhead in 2017. 

“It uses technology to address crime in areas with limited enforcement services. The initiative was established in response to concerns of growing property crime,” said County of Barrhead communications coordinator Shannon Pociuk. 

“We regularly receive positive feedback and inquiries from other municipalities wanting to implement similar efforts and initiatives.”

Recently, officers with Strathcona County RCMP in Alberta also reported that their police patrol initiative was helping to bring down rural crime in local communities. 

Earlier this month, RCMP Superintendent Dave Kalist told a virtual town hall that property crime has gone down in the Strathcona area as a result of proactive patrols. 

“As a result of the proactive patrols, we’re seeing property crime come down in the rural area, which is a positive, and we’ve also seen it come down in the urban area and we’re getting the feedback that says it is positive and we’re doing something right,” said Kalist. 

“As far as the stats go, I think we’re on track. Whenever you see crime going down, it is a good thing.”

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