Rural communities in southern Saskatchewan now have access to a new way to be aware of the crime going on around them in their community, as well as report tips to the police. South Saskatchewan will be the testing area for the Rural Crime Watch Advisory Network.

"As the provincial police service, we're continually looking for new and innovative ways to reduce crime," says Assistant Commissioner Mark Fisher. "We work with our partners to evolve our policing strategies and adopt new ways of making our community safer. Without these partnerships, advancements such as the Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network would not be possible."

The Network is a way for people, specifically in rural communities, to get quick and accurate information straight from the local RCMP detachment about crime situations that are developing or ongoing in their area. By signing up for free, it allows users to choose how  they receive the notifications, whether it be through text, phone, email, or through the mobile app that is in development.

"When a detachment becomes aware of an incident or crime, they can issue an advisory via the system, and local residents who have signed up for the program will become aware of what has happened. Equipped with this information, citizens will be in a better position to provide tips and information to their local RCMP. Signing up to be a part of the network is free and only takes a few minutes."

The idea behind it is to help people in the smaller communities to be the eyes and ears for the RCMP, allowing them to receive relevant crime information  the moment it happens, but also send those tips in as fast as possible to decrease response times in rural communities. This is something that has been a major goal of the Saskatchewan Government according to Corrections and Policing Minister for the Province, Christine Tell.

"The Ministry of Corrections and Policing is proud to provide approximately $50,000 for this program as part of our agreement with the RCMP."

The network is a joint effort between both Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), and the RCMP.

The program is still in development and is being used in south Saskatchewan as a test sequence. The testing period is currently set for 18 months and will have a number of factors contributing to its success; namely, the number of people joining, the number of tips being provided, community feedback, and specific success stories in preventing crime that would not have been possible without the network.

If the tests are deemed successful, the program will be extended to throughout the province. You can sign up on the website below that can be found on the RCMP's website.