Citizens’ Crime Watch

“We are looking for people who work well in small teams, with strong writing skills and who have post-secondary education.  Second languages are a plus, as is volunteer community experience in any type of public safety role.”  – Sergeant Carol Tarnowsky of the Vancouver Police Recruiting section.

As can be seen from the above quote, volunteer experience is very important if you are looking to become a member of the Vancouver Police Department.  Many of our successful applicants volunteered with Citizens’ Crime Watch – myself included.

Formed in 1986 to give citizens the opportunity to help combat crime in their neighborhoods, Citizens’ Crime Watch (CCW) now has approximately eighty-six volunteers who act as additional eyes and ears for the police. 

From the CCW’s website:

“The volunteers are trained and coordinated by a police constable who will work with the volunteers as they patrol the streets of Vancouver in their own cars. Each car is supplied with an iCom radio so that they are in constant contact with their own base radio operator and the coordinator.  They call in and report any criminal or suspicious activity.

Citizens volunteer their time to provide the police with extra eyes and ears on Vancouver streets on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year.  CCW members patrol as a team of two using their own vehicle.

Volunteers observe the activity around them.  If they witness something unusual such as an assault, purse snatching or theft from auto in progress, they communicate via iCom radio with the CCW coordinator, who is out on patrol with the volunteer members.  The coordinator will then initiate the appropriate police action.  Much of our recent activities focus on road safety and we deal with issues such as excessive speeding, impaired driving, unsafe driving and others.”

While I was in college, another student in the Criminal Justice Program approached the rest of us with news the VPD’s Citizens’ Crime Watch was looking for more volunteers.  A number of us applied to the program, were accepted, and started volunteering with CCW soon after.  It was a fantastic way to see if policing was the right career, and gave great insight into the workings of the police department.  Even though we, as volunteers, did not have access to police scanners etc, our radio communication with our ‘officer’ kept us in the loop.  We assisted with many calls – a theft from auto in progress, a hit and run (we chased down the suspect vehicle  and held onto the driver as he tried to flee – even though I’m not sure we were supposed to!), and we recovered several stolen cars.  For a college kid, not only was volunteering with CCW a lot if fun, it was very educational.

And sprinkled in amongst the college age crowd were the older participants; a retired teacher, a grandmother/grandfather duo, and a few middle-age folks wanting to make a difference in their community.  It was a great group. It’s still a great group today.

The need for volunteers continues today.  If you are interested in volunteering with the Vancouver Police Department’s Citizens’ Crime Watch, you must be able to meet the following requirements:

  • Over 19 years of age
  • Have no criminal record
  • Be of suitable character
  • Possess good driving skills and have access to a vehicle for patrols
  • Have good English skills
  • Have good observation skills
  • Have the ability to assess on-view situations and relay details over the radio

For more information, please go the Citizens’ Crime Watch website, or call (604)717-3349, local 6002

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1 Response to "Citizens’ Crime Watch"

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