Local police believe crime is being underreported in town because would-be tipsters are worried about possible repercussions if their identities are found out, so they’re reminding residents that information can be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
“If they’re aware of somebody that maybe committed a crime or who they suspect has committed a crime, even if they’re not sure, just give Crime Stoppers a call to let us know what they’re seeing,” Ucluelet RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Steve Mancini told the Westerly News adding citizens have an important role to play in helping police know what’s going on in the community.
“We could definitely improve in that regard…We get a small amount [of reports], but not nearly what we could be getting and that’s why we’re doing this push. We’re just trying to create awareness so that the community is a little bit more aware of Crime Stoppers.”
Tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com. Mancini assured that all tips reported to Crime Stoppers remain 100 per cent anonymous.
“It’s a way to get that information to us in a manner where people can feel safer doing it and they don’t have to worry about repercussions that sometimes people are concerned with,” he said. “There’s a perceived notion that you don’t want to be labeled as a ‘rat’ or a ‘snitch’ and people sometimes fear for their safety because they think people that are committing crimes are more prone to violence and they’re concerned that, if they speak out, they may be on the receiving end of that.”
The West Coast mourned at least two deaths due to suspected drug overdoses in 2018 and Ucluelet police have put a keen focus on combating drug trafficking in the community.
“As you start doing that, you start to uncover more and more elements and more and more information starts to come in,” he said. “So, that’s where we’re at and we’re pushing out the Crime Stoppers pitch here and hope people can step up and do their part for the community.”
He added that while drug use may not be visibly obvious in the community, that does not mean drugs aren’t being circulated.
“We don’t see people walking down the streets that are out of their minds on drugs, like you see in some communities, but we’d be naive to think that it’s not occurring within the community and it’s something that we’d like to see gone,” he said.
“Ucluelet is a young family town and we’d like to keep it that way, so we’re going to do our part to ensure that these people that are taking advantage of those that are suffering from addictions are held accountable for that.”
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