School Watch trial chapters start up in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP's community policing division and Nanaimo school district are setting up three trial School Watch chapters.

Three trial School Watch chapters are starting in Nanaimo.

The chapters are based on Block Watch, a crime prevention program in which residents organize to watch and report on crimes and suspicious activities in their neighbourhoods.

Now the concept is being carried over to schools, which often form the social nucleus of a community or neighbourhood.

“We’re looking for people who have kids, grandkids, who know kids who go to the schools, people who walk their dogs in those areas or use school play fields,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

Police also hope to attract owners of businesses near schools, who can share information with school staff and police, to the program.

The school district and RCMP are hosting information sessions at John Barsby Community School Nov. 9, Pleasant Valley Elementary School Nov. 17 and at McGirr Elementary School Nov. 24. The sessions start at 7 p.m.

O’Brien said schools will send School Watch information flyers home with students and school staff will knock on doors of homes and businesses to drum up interest in the program.