“Keep your eyes open” has become the informal motto of Colwood employees, who are being encouraged to watch for suspicious behaviours as they go about their days.
The new City Watch program sees public works employees and bylaw officers trained by West Shore RCMP on how to identify criminal activity, how to properly record observations and how to report the incident.
“The City Watch program is not just about discouraging crime, it’s about being there to help,” said bylaw officer Phil Williams, who helped develop the program.
Mayor Carol Hamilton said the program offers many advantages.
“City staff feel a sense of pride in helping to keep our community safe, Colwood residents benefit from an added sense of security and West Shore RCMP benefit from having more eyes and ears on the street,” she said.
All staff have access to a City Watch binder with missing persons reports, notices on recent incidents or vandalism and other information. Every city vehicle is being equipped with information cards outlining the protocol for reporting incidents, as well as conducting emergency first aid.
A recent missing child report was solved by bylaw officers when they saw the child walking alone and returned him safely home.