City Watch is a CUPE BC-sponsored program designed to prevent and reduce crime in communities throughout British Columbia.
It started with CUPE Local 394, City of Richmond, with help from the CUPE National Communications Department and has grown to cover over a dozen communities throughout the province.
CUPE locals work together with local government and police to give CUPE workers who are out on the road during the day and their dispatchers special training in watching for and reporting criminal or suspicious activity in the community. This way they can keep their eyes open during the course of their regular duties and help make our communities safe and secure for everyone.
How The Program Works Most city vehicles are equipped with a two-way radio system or cellular phone. If suspicious activities or accidents are observed, city workers call central dispatch. The dispatcher then immediately contacts the police or other emergency services, depending on the circumstances. In some communities, the workers make the emergency call directly. Incident reports are maintained and reviewed.
A City Watch binder in each vehicle provides handy instructions, reminders and report forms. If police are on the lookout for anyone in particular or stolen vehicles, that information can be included too. If you would like to organize City Watch for your community, you can find information on how to get started here and you can contact the Strong Communities Coordinator for guidance.
Training Co-operation with and assistance from local police is crucial to the success of City Watch. Training can consist of short sessions or provision of written materials to teach workers effective observation and reporting of unusual or suspicious behaviour. This has proved invaluable to both the workers and to the police who receive accurate, timely information.
Workers have stopped small and large crimes, prevented accidents and in one community even helped break up a car theft ring!
Who Benefits? The easy answer is everyone benefits. The police benefit by having trained watchful eyes and listening ears on the streets. CUPE members are proud to give something to the community where they live and work. The city benefits by having safer streets. Most importantly, when citizens see the City Watch Logo, they have one more reason to feel secure in their community.
City Watch now operates successfully in many municipalities and is expanding to others. It has been launched in: Vernon, Victoria, Burnaby, Kamloops, Ladysmith, Smithers, Quesnel, Chilliwack, Prince George, District of Kent, Township of Langley, North Vancouver, and Delta.