The Don’t Mess with Metchosin (Neighbourhood Block Watch) group was created on Facebook on Saturday and has ballooned to more than 250 members in the past few days alone. (iStock photo)

Fed up Metchosin residents start block watch group

Online group encourages residents to report thefts to police

A block watch group has sprung up in Metchosin in hopes of reducing crime in the rural municipality.

The Don’t Mess with Metchosin (Neighbourhood Block Watch) group was created on Facebook on Saturday and has ballooned to more than 250 members in just a few days.

“I really wanted to have a place where we could share what crime is happening so we can start to learn how and when and maybe get big enough that thieves get concerned, that they’re starting to see that we’re coming together,” said group creator and administrator Kelly Munro. “This is such a great community and we want to protect everyone in it.”

Munro, who is also an admin with the Metchosin Facebook group which has more than 4,000 members, said she’s seen an increase in crime in Metchosin in the last six months and expressed frustration with the increase.

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As a way to combat that, Munro created the public block watch page, where people can post information regarding local crimes including location, time of day, vehicle description, photos and videos.

All posts are reviewed by Munro, Dawn Doui or Paula Leweke – the other admins of the group – before they’ve posted, so people don’t make an assumption of guilt.

Members are also encouraged to report thefts or crimes to local police.

In the last few days, members have posted about suspicious males checking car doors in the Happy Valley area, a neighbour on Sooke Road whose chicken coop was broken into and eggs were stolen, as well as someone who had their dump truck rifled through.

RELATED: Property crime remains top priority for Metchosin

“We start to get a sense of criminals’ modes of operation in our area – what time of day are they committing crimes? Are we looking at a couple people or individuals? Are there specific types of vehicles that are connected with crime we should keep our eyes on?” Munro said.

“I’m hoping to see a decrease in crime. I hope the group will become large enough that local thieves are going to be concerned that they’re going to be caught.”

According to the West Shore RCMP, the group has no affiliation with police. The RCMP does offer a block watch progrm that is administered through volunteers, RCMP auxiliary members and the commnity policing officers.

To keep your home secure, RCMP suggest keeping doors locked even though you may be in the backyard, closing and locking all windows when you leave, if you have an alarm, be sure to set it, do not keep ladders or tools on the outside of your home and always keep your vehicle locked, even if it’s parked in a carport or driveway.

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