Police presence in the downtown and the armed robberies were top topics in a Chamber meeting with the RCMP.
In their regular meeting Tuesday, Battlefords Chamber of Commerce directors heard from Sgt. Darcy Woolfitt of Battlefords RCMP about the crime situation in the community.
The goal of the meeting was to provide information on crime trends and ways businesses can prevent or be prepared for those situations.
A wide range of topics were discussed in a meeting that comes in the wake of high profile robberies in North Battleford in the past month.
Woolfitt referred to the armed robberies that hit Family Pizza on 100th Street in early May, as well as at the Super 8 Motel off Highway 16 April 24.
“Those things happen from time to time,” noted Woolfitt, who offered some prevention tips at the meeting, particularly for businesses operating late at night.
Those tips included making sure there isn’t much money in the till, and to have some protocols for those incidents, so employees are aware of what to do.
He urges employees not to be confrontational in such situations.
“It’s not worth getting hurt over $50 or $100,” said Woolfitt.
In those situations he suggested simply handing over the money and then calling the RCMP right away, so they could utilize their resources to track perpetrators down.
Woolfitt also urged security and surveillance cameras be using, calling those a “phenomenal resource for us and more than helpful” in solving crime.
Also discussed were RCMP plans to step up their efforts in policing North Battleford’s downtown core, under fire from residents for the amount of vagrancy in the area.
Woolfitt indicated the RCMP would be stepping up visibility in the area in the coming months.
He noted the department will step up foot patrols and also bike patrols in the downtown with the coming warmer weather. He called bike patrols a positive move that will also allow members to interact with members of the public. The efforts are designed to increase their visibility in the area.
The RCMP also conducted foot patrols over the winter months, Woolfitt noted, though not as frequently. The department is keeping those up year round.
The idea of more foot patrols and bike patrols was well received by the directors, who also suggested the officers drop by the businesses to introduce themselves.
Another topic that prompted considerable discussion was the issue of shoplifting.
Battlefords Chamber president Pat Smith said shoplifting is a major problem at Battlefords and District Co-op.
It caused a big impact on the grocery store’s bottom line, Smith noted. He praised the swift police response to those situations.
“People don’t have any clue how much walks out of these stores,” said Smith.