Advertisement

Ste. Agathe Residents Look to Put Citizens on Patrol

Share:

Copp Crop
Ste. Agathe Community Development Inc. president Claude Lemoine and director Danielle Robert are seen on the streets of Ste. Agathe. The group hopes to get a Citizens on Patrol Program up and running in the community. Dave Baxter

Mitch Dux knows how important it is to combat crime in rural communities, because when a violent crime came to his doorstep, it almost cost him his life.

“I know I’m lucky to be alive,” Dux, a longtime Niverville resident, said. “It could have been a lot worse. I could have died that night.”

In the early morning hours of June 15, 2017, Dux said his stepdaughter got up and noticed the light on in the family’s detached garage at their Niverville home.

Dux knew something wasn’t right, so he went out to see what was going on and got a shock when he found an intruder rummaging through the garage.

He chose to confront the intruder and tried to hold him so he could call the police and have the man arrested.

“I stopped him, and I said, ‘We’re waiting right here at the door of the garage for the police and we’re going to deal with this right now.’”

But the intruder had no plans to give up without a fight.

“We waited a few minutes and he got antsy, so he bolted out the door and I grabbed him by the shirt, and he turned around and went to throw a roundhouse punch, and I didn’t realize he had an object in his hand,” Dux says. “That was when he stabbed me.”

Dux tackled the man, not even realizing he had been stabbed with a blunt object in his stomach.

“I tried to hold him down, but I could feel I was starting to lose my strength, so that’s when I got up and noticed the blood and the tear in my shirt.”

Dux let the man go. Not long after, the police showed up and told him he needed to get to a hospital immediately. He was transported to hospital in Winnipeg by STARS Air Ambulance.

He recovered from his injuries but says he and his wife and family have never felt completely safe in their own home since the incident.

“I’m very self-conscious now, even on my own property,” he says. “I’m self-conscious going into the garage to this day. I’m just a lot more aware than I used to be and it’s been like that ever since that day. Even when I get in my car in the morning, I wonder if there is someone in the back seat waiting for me.”

Dux now says he would never confront a criminal the way he did that morning.

“I learned my lesson the hard way,” he says. “The best thing to do is stay in the house and call the police.”

Back in 2019, a Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP) was started up in Niverville that sees volunteers monitor the streets of the town watching for crime and abnormal behaviour.

Dux says he is a big proponent of the COPP program because he knows the police can’t be everywhere at all times.

“The cops just can’t patrol every second, so it’s good to have more eyes out there,” he says.

Ste. Agathe COPP

As the COPP program continues to patrol the streets of Niverville, residents of another southeast community say they feel crime is becoming a serious problem, and they hope to get a similar program off the ground.

Claude Lemoine is the president of the Ste. Agathe Community Development Inc. (CDI), a not-for-profit organization that works to promote social and economic well being in Ste. Agathe.

Lemoine says that one of the pillars of any healthy community is for people to feel safe, and the CDI is now working with the local RCMP. They are in the early stagers of trying to organize a COPP program in Ste. Agathe.

“We’re like any other community in the area,” Lemoine says. “We’re getting hit with crime, break-ins, and thefts, so it’s a concern for everyone. We seem to get hit in waves and it just keeps coming up, so we know it’s a problem here.”

The CDI has had one meeting with an RCMP constable from the St-Pierre-Jolys detachment and is now in the process of reaching out to the community to see if there are residents who would be willing to sign up to volunteer for the program.

“Basically, you are asking these volunteers to act as the eyes and ears in the community,” Lemoine says.

No Vigilante Justice

While Lemoine says that he hopes volunteers show interest in the idea, he also wants them to know that they would be there to call police, not to deliver their own forms of justice.

“To make this work and to keep people safe, you want to make sure you have the right people,” he says. “You can’t have people go into this with a vigilante mindset. First and foremost, the priority would be the safety of our volunteers. We don’t want anyone getting into a confrontation with a bad guy. They would call the RCMP detachment, and the police would take it from there, and take care of the rest.”

Once the CDI gets a better idea of volunteer interest in the coming weeks and months, they plan to hold another meeting where they help prospective volunteers better understand what would be expected of them.

“We want to show them that there would be expectations, and there would also be limitations,” he says.

Crime Stats

Both Niverville and Ste. Agathe are serviced by the St. Pierre-Jolys RCMP detachment, and statistics compiled by the RCMP show that property crime has been on the rise in the area. In fact, it rose steeply between 2019 and 2020.

In total, property crime in the region in 2020 was up 21 percent from 2019. Last year, there were 731 incidents reported, up from 602 in 2019.

The steepest increase in that period was in incidents of theft over $5,000, which saw a 76 percent increase between 2019 and 2020, with 84 reported incidents in 2019 and 148 in 2020.

There were smaller increases in incidents of break-and-enter and theft under $5,000 in that same period, with those numbers both rising by six percent.

RCMP Support

In a statement, RCMP spokesperson Sergeant Paul Manaigre says that the Manitoba RCMP support any efforts to set up COPP programs in local communities.

“The Manitoba RCMP very much appreciates the time and commitment the volunteers provide to their community,” Manaigre writes. “They are all truly the eyes and ears of their respective neighbourhoods and a valuable resource for our officers. By being aware of the issues arising in their communities, by being a presence, by walking or driving around, by taking notes and reporting as required, they are making a difference and I have no doubt that they are deterring criminal activity. As a police officer, I find this very encouraging.”

Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen says that he also supports any efforts of residents working to combat crime in the RM.

“It is something I would like to see more of, and we want to do as much as we can as a municipality to be there for these kinds of groups and offer whatever assistance we can offer,” Ewen says. “We are hearing a lot of reports about crimes in the area, and it seems to be a problem in all the communities, so I believe if you get the right people involved, these are groups that can make a real impact.”

For more information

Anyone interested in singing up to volunteer or to get more information about the proposed COPP group in Ste. Agathe can send an email to steagathecdi@gmail.com.

Advertisement
More LOCAL NEWS

Niverville Docs Awarded for Excellence

A pair of doctors who have been fixtures in the local healthcare community for more than a decade have been awarded and honoured for the work they do to deliver care to the residents of...

Read more

A pair of doctors who have been fixtures in the local healthcare community for more than a decade have been awarded and honoured for the work they do to deliver care to the residents of...

Read more

Updated May 17: 46 Local Cases

On Monday, the province announced 430 new cases of COVID-19. There are 209 active hospitalizations, with 53 active ICU patients. One new death was reported today, bringing the total death toll to...

Read more

On Monday, the province announced 430 new cases of COVID-19. There are 209 active hospitalizations, with 53 active ICU patients. One new death was reported today, bringing the total death toll to...

Read more
Advertisement

Province Announces Plan to Expand Broadband Services

This week, it was announced that the provincial government has signed a memorandum of understanding to connect more than 125,000 unserved or underseved Manitobans to reliable high-speed internet...

Read more

This week, it was announced that the provincial government has signed a memorandum of understanding to connect more than 125,000 unserved or underseved Manitobans to reliable high-speed internet...

Read more

Niverville Seeks to Expand Water Treatment Plant

On Tuesday, May 11 the Town of Niverville held a very brief special council meeting to approve the borrowing of funds to expand the Spruce Drive water treatment plant. The estimated cost of the...

Read more

On Tuesday, May 11 the Town of Niverville held a very brief special council meeting to approve the borrowing of funds to expand the Spruce Drive water treatment plant. The estimated cost of the...

Read more
Advertisement

City Schools Go to Remote Learning, Rural Schools Face Additional Restrictions

At a press conference this afternoon, Minister of Education Cliff Cullen appeared alongside Dr. Brent Roussin to announce changes to the public health orders as they relate to our province’s...

Read more

At a press conference this afternoon, Minister of Education Cliff Cullen appeared alongside Dr. Brent Roussin to announce changes to the public health orders as they relate to our province’s...

Read more

Manitoba Strengthens Public Health Orders in Face of Rising COVID Cases

Starting on Sunday, May 9, Manitobans will be subject to strengthened public health orders. He calls it a short-term solution with the rate of vaccination picking up speed. The strict new rules...

Read more

Starting on Sunday, May 9, Manitobans will be subject to strengthened public health orders. He calls it a short-term solution with the rate of vaccination picking up speed. The strict new rules...

Read more
Advertisement

Inside Look: How Niverville MCC Has Coped with Pandemic

The last year has been one of challenges and tragedy at the Niverville MCC Thrift Shop, but the volunteers and employees who keep the store running say they are adjusting to this new normal and...

Read more

The last year has been one of challenges and tragedy at the Niverville MCC Thrift Shop, but the volunteers and employees who keep the store running say they are adjusting to this new normal and...

Read more

Niverville Council Meeting in Brief—May 4

Niverville’s town council held a brief virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 4 at 9:00 a.m. Early in the meeting, CAO Eric King requested an approval for updating the name, policy, and advertising...

Read more

Niverville’s town council held a brief virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 4 at 9:00 a.m. Early in the meeting, CAO Eric King requested an approval for updating the name, policy, and advertising...

Read more
Time until next issue
Citizen Poll

Have you already gotten, or do you plan to get, a COVID-19 vaccination?

For related article, see link below.
https://nivervillecitizen.com/...