Jun 23, 2010

New “City Watch” program boosts community safety

NEW WESTMINSTER – Additional eyes and ears on the street is one of the key benefits of a new program launched in New Westminster today to promote community safety and assist local police in the fight against crime.

“City Watch” is an initiative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees which combines the efforts of City of New Westminster staff, CUPE 387, New Westminster Fire and Rescue Service and the New Westminster Police Service to prevent and reduce crime by encouraging municipal employees to be alert to suspicious and criminal activity they may witness on the job.

“We are very pleased to participate in the ‘City Watch’ program,” said Mayor Wayne Wright. “By training city staff in what to look for and how to report suspicious activity and crimes in progress, we can assist police and fire in keeping our community safe. I’d like to thank CUPE for their work in making this possible.”

A majority of City of New Westminster staff have received “City Watch” training and are now ready to participate in the program.

“New Westminster Police Service officers work hard around the clock to create a safe community for everyone,” said New Westminster Police Service Chief Constable Lorne Zapotichny. “The ‘City Watch’ program is a great partnership that will yield great results, helping us in our continued efforts to reduce crime in our city.”

CUPE BC general vice-president Cindy McQueen said the union and its local members are proud of their work with the City of New Westminster on the program. “We’ve launched ‘City Watch’ in more than a dozen communities throughout the province and had success everywhere,” she said. “CUPE members in the program not only identify suspicious activity and report it. They have also helped prevent drownings and have been first responders at accident sites.”

Other B.C. communities that have introduced the “City Watch” program include Victoria, Burnaby, Kamloops, Ladysmith, North Vancouver and Delta.

COPE 491