Citizens patrol cuts Mayne Island crime

January 1, 2017

I always find January is a sort of get-back-to-serious-business time.

Stamping down on crime is a serious sort of thing to write about and read:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Pended Islands Edition
Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Citizens patrol cuts Mayne Island crime
by Tanya Lester

Mayne Island Citizens on Patrol, a program described by RCMP Constable Ian Philip as “Neighbourhood Watch on wheels,” is being credited for eliminating break and entries on the island so far this year.

And Pender RCMP Corporal Don Smawley hopes to establish a similar program on this island.

After a rash of 44 break-ins,Philip decided to approach the community with the idea of setting up the patrol which utilizes local residents to keep an eye out for possible criminal activities, especially at night.

People residing on or operating businesses on Mayne Island were eligible to apply for training. The criteria to become a volunteer included having no criminal record, having a valid driver’s licence, being at least 19 years old and of good character and willing to appear in court as a witness if necessary.

The local RCMP officer said the 30 to 35 volunteers on the patrol had to undergo a clearance screening. They also took training.

The volunteers work in pairs in their cars and call the RCMP if they witness any situation that they suspect might be criminal activity.

Information about anything or anyone they see at night must remain confidential.

On an island with a population of approximately 800, the number of people willing to put in volunteer time is high. “People on the island want the quality of life that they had,” said Philip. “They decided to do this in order to maintain their quality of life, a peaceful way of life.”

Philip believes the individuals who patrol are benefiting the community and doing a great job. There have been no break and entries since the program began in January.

However, some Mayne residents oppose the patrol or aspects of it. Philip said one individual objected to the signs erected at the island’s two docks and ferry terminal. The signage states the patrol is in operation on Mayne.

Others have objected that the patrol infringes on their civil rights.

Besides patrolling for possible break and entry situations, patrol members can contact RCMP about other suspected crimes in progress.

They can also be called up in the event of a missing child or other emergencies. Philip sees the group as a pool of people to draw from that did not exist before the program was up and running.

Salt Spring Island, Nanaimo and several other B.C. communities have similar programs. On Pended, Smawley has hoped to start a similar program.

To date, resident interest has been low.


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Tanya’s books at Confessions of a Tea leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes.

Tanya has been a psychic, doing tea leaf readings, tarot and other intuitive readings for 20 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Winnipeg. She is also a recki master and housesits full-time. For more information, go to or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. You can also contact her directly at tea or call her cellphone at 250-538-0086.


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