A little less than a month ago the Saskatchewan RCMP unveiled their newest initiative to help fight rural crime.
The Crime Watch Advisory Network allowed people to sign up for regional alerts and releases from the RCMP regarding crimes or suspicious behaviour.
In under a month, the program has seen great success with a number of registered users all over southern Saskatchewan.
"The reaction has been very good. We've had a few thousand people sign up so far and it keeps increasing every day," said Kevin Kunetzki, Superintendent and South District Officer with the RCMP. "It's something we're really excited about. It's a new way of doing business and communicating with the public."
They've had such positive feedback in under a month, the RCMP designed a new website to make it even easier for people to sign up. It's super simple, too. You can register with an email and choose which detachments you would like alerts from and how you want those alerts sent to you.
"The system will allow you to use an app if you want to, but you don't need one. Anyone with a cellphone that can receive text messages can receive the advisories. We can even convert the text to voice and that to a landline," Kunetzki explained. "There's lots of options for people and it seems to be working well."
Aside from getting positive reviews and boatloads of users, the Crime Watch Advisory has also helped the RCMP with a couple of cases. One turned out to be a false alarm, but Kunetzki said that otherwise could have turned to a cold file and caused unnecessary stress for others in the area.
In another instance, the public's assistance helped the RCMP lay charges.
"In one case in Milestone, we put out an advisory of a theft of an ATV. Someone got the advisory on their smartphone and noticed there was some individuals in the community had a quad that didn't have one before," Kunetzki said. "They called it in and we attended the scene, and as a result, charged two people with possession of stolen property and recovered that ATV."
For now, the service is only offered in southern Saskatchewan but the RCMP is hoping to open up to the whole province in the coming months.
Kunetzki thanked the public for their help and support in the early going of the Advisory Network and encouraged everyone to sign up.
"This is what we want to see, where people are being the eyes and ears and making a difference and caring about their communities. They're working with the RCMP to help keep Saskatchewan safe and that's what it's all about," he said. "We're really encouraging people to continue signing up and making a difference in their community."