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An officer on patrol in a police car.

RCMP detachments up patrols amid physical distancing

RCMP are keeping an eye on business and industrial areas that are now almost empty amid physical distancing. Credit: RCMP


While many are practising physical distancing and staying home to flatten the COVID-19 curve, some RCMP detachments have increased patrols.

Officers are focusing on business areas that have seen a drop in traffic since residents started staying home.

"With the downtown core almost empty, we're fearful that the empty businesses may be targeted," says Insp. Mike McCauley, officer in charge of the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP detachment in Alberta. "Unfortunately, criminals don't stop because of a shutdown."

Officers are working with crime analysts to locate high-risk areas allowing police to ensure a presence where they're needed most.

"If police are patrolling the alleyways and hotspots, criminals know we're around and if there's an alarm, we'll be there quick," McCauley says.

Increasing visibility also helps reassure the public that the police are on the job.

"When a community sees the police around, they feel safer," says McCauley.

RCMP in Red Deer, Alta., have also increased patrols in business and industrials areas as well as higher traffic areas around grocery stores and pharmacies.

"Our presence alone helps bring calm among the shoppers and staff at the stores," says Supt. Gerald Grobmeier, officer in charge of the Red Deer detachment.

Police have reached out to the local business community providing information on how they can protect their business property while they're at home. Ensuring the alarm system is functioning properly and providing lighting in and around a building can help dissuade potential criminals.

"All these small tips help make things as difficult as possible for people who prey on these types of situations," says Grobmeier.

RCMP detachments are taking other steps to help protect staff while they continue protecting the public.

Some detachments have closed to the public and officers have masks and gloves for when close contact is necessary. Detachments are limiting the number of officers inside at once to ensure that, if there is an exposure to COVID-19, it reduces the number of officers who must self-isolate.

"By protecting our members, we're protecting the public at the same time," says Grobmeier.

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