Local RCMP raise awareness of victims of crime

  • Apr. 9, 2014 3:23 p.m.

The Red Deer City RCMP are raising awareness this week of victims of crime.

From April 6-12 is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, and the Red Deer RCMP Victim Services Unit and the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre are hosting a public open house to commemorate the week. The open house will take place April 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the downtown RCMP detachment at 4602 51 Ave. Coffee, juice and refreshments will be served, there will be door prize draws, and everyone is welcome.

“National Victims of Crime Awareness Week is an opportunity for people to really take note of the impact crime and tragedy have on our community, and to recognize the importance of assisting those who are victims of crime,” said RCMP Const. Jody Young of Victim Services. “This year’s theme is ‘Taking Action,’ and our goal is to educate people on actions everyone can take to prevent victimization and to support victims and their families.”

The open house will feature information booths from Victim Services, the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre, Crime Stoppers, Citizens on Patrol, Neighbourhood Watch and AMA. Information will include behaviours and tools anyone can adopt to help prevent criminal activity in their neighbourhoods, and volunteer information for those who want to take a more active role in community safety.

“The purpose of the week is to raise awareness about issues facing victims of crime and the services, programs and laws that are in place to help victims and their families,” said Young. “We deal with victims of serious and violent crime as well as individuals who have been impacted by property-related matters. It is a wide range.”

She added it is important to acknowledge the week because it’s an opportunity in the community to take note of the impact that crime has.

“We need to help people who have been victims of crime deal through these incidences and hopefully get back to what we consider a new normalcy,” said Young. “It’s the best way for helping to improve the life for everyone in our community. The reality is crime is not faceless and everyone who ends up coming in contact either through a traumatic event or through a criminal act can benefit from having the assistance of others.

“A lot of times when we come into contact with victims, they have no idea about the criminal justice process. We want to let them know there are people out there to help them and to provide them with support and information.”

Meanwhile, last year in Red Deer, volunteers with Victim Services gave more than 1,500 hours to victims and there was also about 3,500 hours of staff time that was dedicated towards the program. Officials and volunteers with Victim Services responded to 168 crisis calls in 2013 as well.

There are currently 23 volunteers with Victim Services in Red Deer and Young said they are hoping to get up to 60 volunteers after a recent recruitment campaign.