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In 1998 a group of citizens in the Grandin area of St. Albert came together out of concerns about vandalism and theft. Nancy Nelson and her husband Al Nelson facilitated the formation of a group similar to those formed recently in Edmonton. The group was first known as the “Neighbourhood Patrol”. Not long after, the group formalized and became known as the St. Albert Citizen’s Patrol Society.

Mission of the Patrol


How do we do this:

  • By actively patrolling the city
  • By remaining extremely visible; wearing reflective vests with the words Citizen’s Patrol and using vehicle decals during colder months
  • By assisting the RCMP when special circumstances require extra eyes in the community

How Does it Work?

  • Much like when a person sees a marked police car - they hit the brake and grab their seatbelt
  • Similarly, a visible Patroller in the community lets people know:  if there is criminal behaviour or activity in the neighbourhood, the Police will be informed
  • Confrontation is not an option – Patrol members will not attempt to resolve conflict or engage individuals involved in suspicious or illegal activity themselves
  • Joining the Patrol starts with a basic security check and application process
  • An orientation night gets new members familiar with a typical shift
  • A minimum of two people must be on a Patrol
  • The Citizen’s Patrol vests must be worn

Frequently Asked Questions

What's a typical shift like?

  • Patrollers start a shift by calling the RCMP and “logging in” with them.  “logging out” is equally important to let dispatch know your ok and have turned in for the night
  • Shifts will last about an hour or two, and typically will be in the evening.  Shifts can be any time of day or night
  • Most shifts are very quiet and there will be nothing to report
  • Patrol exposure is enough to get people interested and engaged about the Patrol’s presence in the community

Suspicious activity that is worthy of reporting to the RCMP using their public complaint line can consist of such things as:

  • Public drinking
  • The smell of marijuana in a public space
  • The presence of suspicious or strange persons in a given area, which can depend on time of day, placement of the person(s) or the scenario at hand
  • Anything that you believe requires a police presence

Should I bother the Police?

  • In some cases you may think calling the police is not warranted, but believe the situation may require some looking into
  • In a situation like this you may take some detailed notes and forward this information on via an e-mail to a liaison officer, or drop by the front-counter of the detachment with the information

Can I just join the patrol and NOT wear the vest?

  • Wearing the Patrol Vest is essential, it is the reason Citizen’s Patrol is successful as a crime prevention activity
  • Sometimes the comment is made: We would ‘catch’ more people if they couldn't see us coming.  
  • In most cases this is not true.  Since we are non-confrontational, most see us walk by not realizing we have been relaying information to the police.  
  • A regular Patrol presence often displaces would-be criminals from an area

Am I expected to arrest people?

  • NO – you are a citizen just like everyone else and have no special powers bestowed on you  
  • If you see a criminal offence taking place, such as a theft or assault, you may arrest and detain an individual for the police until they arrive under the authority of ‘citizens power of arrest’  
  • Above all, you will have accomplished your duty as a citizen by simply alerting the police to a situation

Can I take my dog on patrol?

  • Taking your dog is not recommended
  • If your dog is extremely obedient and you trust it completely, then exceptions can be made.  
  • The Patrol is not liable for any mishaps with a dog
  • You must always patrol with two or more PEOPLE regardless of a dog’s presence

Why don't we leave patrolling to the police?

  • There are quite simply not enough Police Officers in St. Albert to patrol neighbourhoods and be a regular and frequent visible presence
  • That is why neighbourhoods that are experiencing higher than average theft, vandalism, break-ins and other overt crimes benefit from the presence of a Citizen’s Patrol

What's In it for Me?

Community Pride

  • Over the years, members of the Patrol have forged long-lasting friendships
  • Patrol members have become much more ‘aware’ of their community and the people that make it work
  • Patrol members give something back to the community that makes them feel good about being a part of it
  • With effort, crime will be deterred or prevented

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