Paul Corbett hopes that community get-togethers like the beach party he held on Aug. 2 can help bring together the community, and that the community change its approach to crime in Penticton. (Brennan Phillips — Western News)

Video: Group targets bringing together Penticton to prevent crime

Get-togethers and a new app, Lightcatch, are some tools to use

By Brennan Phillips

Western News Staff

Penticton resident Paul Corbett thinks people are losing their connections to neighbours in the era of social media — he wants to see that change.

The best way to make this change, he said, is to find out who lives in your neighbourhood and meet with them in person.

That’s why Corbett held the first of two beach parties on Aug. 2 which saw about a dozen people stop by. The aim was to help foster greater community spirit and to provide a forum for new ideas.

“We have a crime problem in our community and I’d like to address it,” Corbett said. “One way we might encompass it is to embrace our traditional values, where you saw neighbourhoods where everyone knew everyone. I think we need to go back and bring some of the old values back. Maybe we’ve lost touch with that because what we’re doing now, isn’t working. So maybe it’s time to try something old again.”

READ MORE: Modern-day block watch app, Lightcatch, catching on in Penticton

For Corbett, any beach party — or block party, or a backyard barbecue — helps to create an atmosphere where people can mingle and get to know one another, to rekindle the connections that neighbourhoods once shared.

The second party is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 9 on Skaha Beach. The party is open to everyone in Penticton. The aim is to help get the community to meet each other face to face in a friendly environment.

The idea for the beach parties spun out of conversations on Facebook, including some in the Lightcatch group, he said.

Lightcatch is another modern take on an old concept, this time of the neighbourhood watch programs. The app is designed to use social media to facilitate better communication and reporting of crimes, and to help keep a track of criminals in the community. Users are able to take photos of suspected criminals with stolen goods or drug paraphernalia and the like, and after a moderator vets the posting, share it with other users of the app. Some members of the community see the app as a way of bridging the old attitudes with modern technologies.

“There is such a sense of inability to address the thefts of bikes, thefts of cars, and the attitude that it’s okay to do that sort of the thing,” said Gary Haupt, a proponent of Lightcatch in Penticton.

READ MORE: Penticton RCMP has the busiest detachment in B.C.

“We know the police are up to their bum in alligators, and there’s only so much they can do. (Lightcatch) allows the community to be involved. They can be the eyes because we all see stuff, every day. You can sit behind your computer — we have that terminology, keyboard warrior — you can have that, but you can be involved in what’s going on in your street, in your community.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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