After months of preparation, members of White Pony Lodge patrol took their first steps this weekend to combat violence and crime in Regina’s North Central neighbourhood.
“We wanted to get the community together, [to help] build rapport, build relationships within the community,” coordinator Shawna Oochoo explained.
“To show that we are here, and we do have a presence.”
The citizen street patrol was out in bright reflective orange vests Friday and Saturday evening touring streets and interacting with residents.
The group mandate is to be a positive and visible force in the community, with the hope that the patrols can help reduce violence and crime.
“If we walk out there with fear, then to me, we’re defeating the purpose,” coordinator Beatrice Wallace said.
Wallace explained she sees violence in North Central all too often.
“There’s been stabbings, murders, robberies, just in front of our house.”
North Central accounts for seven of the past nine murders in the city, dating back to April 2015.
Total crime rates in the area are also more than double other neighbourhoods around the city, according to Regina police.
“My girls weren’t allowed to walk down the streets by themselves because I was living in fear. I want to change that,” Wallace said.
The group hopes to spread positivity to all areas of their community.
“When we walk, we’re happy. We don’t walk scared or intimidated. We know what we’re doing is good,” Wallace said.
White Pony Lodge said they still need more volunteers to be the neighbourhood’s guardian angel.
“It’s not all negative. It’s good people. We need more good people,” member Destiny Goforth said.
The group will be on patrol every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. Volunteers are required to fill out a waiver when they sign up.
The group is also accepting donations from the public and are seeking the following items:
- Bug Spray
- Bottled Water
- Reflective vests
- Snacks ie. cookies, crackers