Westlock RMCP are “giving a double effort” to patrol the downtown area in light of a recent rise in break-ins to local businesses, Staff Sgt. Bryan Clayton says.
Unfortunately, that is not always enough to prevent this type of thing from happening — the RCMP detachment area covers the entire county and there simply aren’t enough resources to have police downtown all night, every night.
“We’re doing things to try to keep an eye on things downtown,” he said. “It’s often very, very quiet, and not a thing is to be heard.”
Despite the recent extra efforts, three more businesses reported being vandalized or robbed Tuesday morning.
Both Arth’s Fashion Centre and Westlock Bowl had their windows smashed, Clayton said, and the Westlock Inn Liquor Store had a window smashed and some merchandise stolen.
“That premise was gained, and I think they got away with a couple bottles of liquor,” he said.
Police continue to investigate these incidents, and although Clayton could not say if any of the acts of vandalism or the break-ins are related, he said police are pursuing some leads.
“We do have some leads, and there are some avenues of investigation we’re proceeding with,” he said. “We have to rely on the public to help with our investigation. Somebody out there in the community may know who’s responsible.”
He acknowledged some residents and business owners may feel frustrated by the ongoing issue, and suggested people make the effort to enhance their own security procedures, perhaps even go so far as to have a night watchperson or employee on the store premises after hours.
If anyone has information about these most recent break-ins, Clayton said they should call the RCMP at 780-349-4491, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.