Hobbema hopes to draw kids into cadets, not gangs
RCMP in the violence-plagued community of Hobbema hope to battle the problem of gangs and drugs by recruiting youth to be cadets.
Const. Darryl Bruno says the idea is to keep kids out of trouble and away from the violence that has rocked the community over the past months.
Last month, police responded to a shooting, a stabbing, a home invasion, a fire bombing and numerous weapons calls in the space of five days.
Bruno says the cadet program has proved successful in other First Nations in Canada.
"What they saw there on these reserves is once these kids got involved in this, a lot of them, their attitudes changed and there was a major reduction with regards to crime in their area as well," Bruno, the RCMP's crime prevention co-ordinator, said.
Bruno says the program has received a good response from youth in Hobbema, which is a community made up of four First Nations, even though recruitment won't begin until September.
"There appears to be a positive response right now. A lot of the youth, it appears that they want to get involved in a lot of different things," he said. "But because of the heavy recruitment with regards to the gang activities in our communities, this would be something to counteract that.
"And they want a sense of belonging."
RCMP officers in Hobbema carry 3.5 times the number of cases as officers in other detachments in the country.