Saskatchewan will soon welcome a new tool in the fight against crime. The Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network was announced on March 7th. The system provides alerts from detachment commanders about crimes or emergency situations via text, email, or phone. People using the information service can sign up at no charge and select the type of communication they wish to receive. The system will initially be rolled out in southern Saskatchewan for evaluation.
The government of Saskatchewan has provided $50,000 for the project. In the news briefing, Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell stated, "We know that people across our province want information to help keep their family and home safe. The Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network allows people to get reliable information right from the RCMP.”
RCMP Superintendent Kevin Kunetzki is with the project. Kunetzki explains how people can receive information. The Saskatchewan Crime Watch information network is a system supported by the Everbridge Mass Notification System. When people sign up to receive the advisories the detachments will log in and go online and send out a message. Anyone who has signed up will receive the message from their local or neighbouring detachments via text message, email, a phone call - however the resident has decided to sign up for the system. It's quite a flexible system." Kunetzki goes on to explain that while the information can be accessed through an iOS or Android app, downloading an app is not necessary. Individuals can simply sign up and advise how they want to be notified.
The initial evaluation period will be 18 months and only detachments in southern Saskatchewan. The boundary roughly corresponds to detachments south of Watrous, Wynyard, and Wadena, none of which will be included in the initial rollout. However, Kunetzki emphasizes that citizens from any area of the province are encouraged to sign up regardless of whether their detachments are actively participating. While the messaging on the system will initially come from southern areas, training of commanders is ongoing throughout the province. While there is no official launch date for the Humboldt and surrounding detachment to begin participating, Kunetzki notes, "As we evaluate the program, that could come at any time. So I think it's important to build that network now while we have the time. I will tell you that expressed interest will probably have something to say about that. That's why we encourage people to sign up from across the province."
There are several means to access the sign-up. One way is through the SARM website (www.sarm.ca); another is the SUMA site (www.suma.org). Individuals can also simply online search for the Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network and look for the Everbridge link. On sign up, residents can choose how they wish to be notified and from which detachments they wish to receive the notifications.