People worried about rural crime in the province join Facebook group
By Kate Ayers
Saskatchewan residents worried about rural crime have taken to social media to encourage the government to act.
Nick Cornea, a farmer near Briercrest, Sask., created the Facebook group called Farmers Against Rural Crime a little over a week ago. It now has over 7,600 members.
People are annoyed with crimes on their properties, including thefts of vehicles, farm equipment and fuel, Cornea said in a Global News article on Friday.
Rural residents feel they should be able to defend their families and livelihoods. They should also have the right to harm trespassers on their land if necessary, Cornea added.
The RCMP has informed people they can use force against intruders, depending on the circumstance, according to the article. They urge that safety and prevention should be priorities, however.
Though farmers seek to protect their properties and families, they aren’t looking to take extreme actions, Cornea said.
Some people claim “we’re redneck racist farmers, wheeling our guns around our hip like it’s the wild west. That’s not what we’re about,” he said to Global News on Thursday.
“We need to find a happy medium for what we can do to defend ourselves … life over property isn’t what we’re looking for.”
The group would also welcome changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, allowing repeat offenders to be kept behind bars longer.
The objective of Farmers Against Rural Crime is to present knowledge and evidence to the provincial and federal governments.
“Farmers are falling victim to crime. Please join our campaign to bring real change to our legal system,” the Facebook page reads.
The government will have to act if the group gains a big enough audience, Cornea said in the article.
The provincial government is working to help reduce the incidence of crime in rural areas, according to an emailed statement to Farms.com.
“The Saskatchewan government is taking steps to address concerns raised by rural residents about their personal safety and the increased property crimes within their homes and communities,” the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Corrections and Policing said to Farms.com yesterday.
“The new Protection and Response Team (PRT) is designed to aid in the reduction of crime in rural Saskatchewan.”
The PRT is made up of 258 armed enforcement officers but communities are encouraged to participate in the Community Safety Officer program to further enhance safety services in communities, the ministries said.
The use of “rural crime watch, crime stoppers and … electronic monitoring devices, such as cameras and alarms, (are also encouraged) to help prevent crime in rural Saskatchewan,” the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Corrections and Policing added.
“The ministries recommend that concerned community members work with their local police service to develop and implement alternative community safety solutions.”
Updated Mar. 13, 2018