The RM of Meadow Lake is encouraging its residents to keep its streets clean – in more way than one.

Recently, RM chief administrative officer Richard Levesque issued a plea to ratepayers, asking them to be vigilant when it comes to watching for individuals who are littering or who are damaging and stealing road signs.

“Some incidents involve appliances and garbage being thrown into waterways and ditches,” Levesque told Northern Pride. “There are also a number of signs that have been damaged or stolen. Some of these signs are hard to reach, so there may be someone standing on a quad or half-ton to reach them.”

Levesque went on to say, in addition to being charged with theft or vandalism, if there is a situation where someone is injured or killed at an intersection because stop or yield signs have been removed, the RM will also request – if the person responsible is apprehended – criminal negligence charges also be laid.

“If anyone sees any of these situations occurring, report the incident immediately to the RM or the RCMP,” Levesque added. “And, if anyone has any photos or licence plate numbers, that would also be helpful.”

Meanwhile, Levesque himself has already shared his concerns with police.

“I’ve recently had conversations with the RM of Meadow Lake CAO about this, but, since April 1 of this year, the Meadow Lake detachment has not received any complaints regarding the theft of road signs or littering/garbage dumping in the RM,” stated S/Sgt. Carl Dinsdale, Meadow Lake RCMP detachment commander. “That is not to say it isn’t happening, this just means people are not reporting it to the police, but are calling the RM about it. This is a good opportunity to remind residents they need to report all crime to the detachment, as we cannot develop a clear picture of what crime is occurring, and where, without being advised of it.”

Dinsdale went on to say the theft of traffic signs, especially stop signs, posts a potential public safety risk and could end up in serious traffic collisions, which would move that theft into – as Levesque said – the realm of criminal negligence causing injury or death, an obviously much more serious crime.

“I know some people are of the mindset they do not want to ‘waste our time’ with reporting petty crime, but it is important we document all criminal activity in our area to be able to analyze it and make out crime patterns and trends,” he said. “This will allow for intelligence-led targeted patrols of areas where these crimes are occurring. We need to maximize the use of our resources and work smarter, not harder.”

Dinsdale also said he is currently working on introducing some crime prevention and information sharing technology in the form of a free phone app called Lightcatch.

“It was originally introduced in the Grand Prairie area of Alberta based on a serious rural crime issue and showed significant reductions in criminal activity in a short period of time,” he noted. “The caveat to this working, though, is buy in and use by local residents. I hope to be able to host some town hall meetings this fall where we can discuss this further.”

The Meadow Lake RCMP can be reached by calling 306-236-2570.

by Phil Ambroziak