Local hopes to reduce crime with new dog watch program

A local woman is turning the simple act of walking your dog into a block watch program in an effort to reduce crime in downtown Victoria.

A local woman is turning the simple act of walking your dog into a block watch program in an effort to reduce crime in downtown Victoria.

Ellen Henry has started the Downtown Victoria Dog Watch Program, where dog walkers act as neighbourhood block watchers and report any suspicious activity to the Victoria Police Department.

“The idea for this came from a convergence of different parts of our lives,” said Henry, who started a block watch program in her community street three years ago.

“We’re out with our dog all the time, not just confined to our block and we started to think ‘why not take the orientation we learned as block watch participants and apply that to the walks that we take with our dog normally’.”

In collaboration with the Victoria Downtown Residents Association, Henry said it will be modelled after the VicPD’s current block watch program, where participants take an observe and report role to help reduce crime in the area.

“When you form a community like that the folks that want to commit crime are less likely to be around,” she said, adding that they have had problems with drug-related crime, graffiti, break and enters and bike theft in the past.

“If we see someone checking car door handles or windows or looking into backyards . . . if we report that and a police cruiser comes along, they’re going to move along.”

Coun. Charlayne Thorton-Joe, an avid dog lover and liaison with the residents’ association, said the program is a great way to look out for the community.

“I’m really aware that we are the eyes and ears often in times when others might not be out,” she said, noting that an increasing amount of downtown residents own dogs.

“When it rains, our dogs still have to be walked. If it’s the middle of the night, if the dog wants to go out you have to take them for a walk.”

It is a program that the Victoria Police Department supports.

“VicPD certainly supports new initiatives aimed at increasing participation in our communities,” said Cst. Mike Russell with VicPD.

Henry said she hopes other communities will think about expanding the program to their neighbhourhoods, noting residents in Vic West have also expressed interest in it.

There is an info session on May 27 at Bosley’s at 911 Yates St from 6:30-8 p.m. for people who are interested in joining the program. For more information or to RSVP to the event, visit the Facebook page at Downtown Victoria Dog Watch Program or email info@victoriadra.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria’s economy is expected to bounce back fairly easily, according to a new report from BMO Capital Markets released April 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria in good position to bounce back post-pandemic, says BMO

City’s smaller size, lower COVID-19 caseload and diverse industry base bode well

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at David Cameron Elementary School. People may have been exposed on April 14 to 16. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Colwood elementary school

Exposure at Esquimalt’s Ecole Victor-Brodeur also confirmed

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria rose to 5.7 per cent in March 2021, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to February 2021. But the local unemployment rate remains the among the lowest in Canada. (Black Press Media File)
Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 per cent

The increase marks a reversal from recent months, but local economy among the strongest in Canada

Three new flight exposures have been reported departing from or arriving at the Victoria International Airport between April 7 and 11. (File photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Three flight exposures reported at Victoria International Airport

One flight on April 7 and two on April 11 had confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Most Read