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The Royal City has become the latest B.C. community to adopt “City Watch”, launching CUPE BC’s successful crime-fighting program this morning with a brief ceremony at City Hall in New Westminster, BC.

Jeannie Ziraldo, Human Resources manager for the City of New Westminster, opened the event by noting that the majority of the City’s employees, members of CUPE 387, have been trained in “City Watch”.

When all those employees are accounted for, along with police and fire and rescue staff, said Mayor Wayne Wright, there are now “twelve hundred eyes on the street” ready to tackle crime in New West.

Twelve hundred eyes makes us a better city to live in and a more protective city to live in,” Wright told a small crowd gathered in the City Hall foyer.

And it’s not just for crime—this is for help. When you see somebody on the road who needs some help, you call our people. They get there, they take care of you. So once more, what we’ve done is we’ve added to our city just one more reason to be here. One more reason to choose New Westminster as a place to live—to be in a community that cares for everyone.”

CUPE BC general vice-president Cindy McQueen, who has presided over “City Watch” launches in North Vancouver, where she is President of CUPE 389, and in Vernon, said she is proud to see the program adopted in the city where she lives.

As Mayor Wright just said, it’s not only to protect the community but to help the community,” said McQueen.

’City Watch’ builds strong communities. If there’s a situation that happens in the street, often police will go and interview witnesses—and very rarely do witnesses actually have the correct awareness of suspect identification. So through ‘City Watch’ and specific training, our members are trained to identify suspects so that if it does come to court there is a successful conviction against the suspect.”

New Westminster police inspector Doug Walcott and fire chief Tim Armstrong also praised the program.

 “City Watch” has now been adopted by more than a dozen communities throughout BC.