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NORTH VANCOUVER – Community safety received a big boost here today, with CUPE BC’s City Watch program being launched in both the City and District of North Vancouver with the help of CUPE local 389.

A first for the North Shore, City Watch is a partnership between CUPE, the RCMP, District of North Vancouver and City of North Vancouver. A community safety program and CUPE BC initiative, it is designed to prevent and reduce crime by encouraging municipal workers to alert police to any suspicious activity they might witness while on the job.

We are very honoured to have our members enhance their role in protecting their community through a program like City Watch,” says CUPE 389 president Cindy McQueen.

They already serve their community by the work they do, but this program gives them added training that helps them serve as extra eyes and ears for their neighbours.”

CUPE BC secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock said that municipal employees are uniquely positioned to play this role.

CUPE members work in virtually every corner of our community, including cutting grass in local parks, maintaining roadways and collecting garbage. They work in laneways, recreation facilities, parks, on the streets and near schools,” he said.

Many of our members also live in North Vancouver and know the area quite well, which will make this program even more effective. And that will add to the successes we’ve had with City Watch in a number of other B.C. communities.”

City Watch training includes important techniques such as how to identify suspicious activity, report crime and identify a suspect.

Other B.C. municipalities that have implemented the program include Victoria, Burnaby, Kamloops, Ladysmith, Smithers, Quesnel, Chilliwack, Prince George, District of Kent and Township of Langley. In September, City Watch will be launched in Delta.

COPE 491