Calgary

Siksika First Nation leaders hope crime hotline helps members prevent issues

Siksika First Nation has launched a new crime prevention hotline for its community members in hopes that more are encouraged to speak out about unsafe activities.

New anonymous phone number will be checked daily by RCMP

Siksika Coun. Ruben Breaker has helped get the hotline up and running. (Livia Manywounds/CBC)

Siksika First Nation has launched a new crime prevention hotline for its members.

The community, which is 100 kilometres east of Calgary, has faced multiple complaints from the public in recent years about drug and property crime.

Now, nation leadership and the police force have teamed up to channel those calls in a way that ensures they're heard.

The 24-hour hotline will give Siksika community members direct communication with local RCMP that is strictly confidential.

Siksika chief and council, Siksika's crime prevention unit and Gleichen RCMP are behind the initiative that they hope will encourage more reports.

They are all trying to do their best to "make our reserve and community a safe place," said Siksika Coun. Ruben Breaker, who is also the chairperson for the Siksika crime prevention unit.

"It's a priority for us to look out for our people and to do what we have to do and work with the RCMP," he said.

The hotline was designed to enhance community member involvement and trusting communication with Gleichen RCMP.

"This line is completely anonymous. There is no middle man but they can leave a message," Breaker said. "RCMP will deal with the matter and, you know, to continue the investigation from there."

Encouraging more reports

In the past, the Siksika Nation used the Crime Stoppers hotline and Gleichen main dispatch to report suspicious activity.

"We wanted to find an easier way for the people to step up and not be afraid," Breaker said.

Last year, some Siksika community members protested outside a suspected drug dealer home with signs that read, "Meth Kills Siksika Youth."

Members of Siksika First Nation camped in their community to track the comings and goings of alleged drug dealers. (Cindy Sitting Eagle)

As a response, Siksika First Nation leadership and Gleichen RCMP came up with the idea of a hotline.

"We talked about the possibility of how we can streamline information provided from the community to the RCMP to better serve the community," Gleichen RCMP Cpl. Scott Mercer said.

The hotline was created to encourage nation members to report without fear of consequences.

"Drugs and alcohol are problematic in the community but also for all communities," Mercer said.

Cpl. Scott Mercer, left, of the Gleichen RCMP detachment and Siksika Coun. Ruben Breaker hope the hotline helps more people feel comfortable reporting issues to police. (Livia Manywounds/CBC)

Drugs and alcohol are connected to property crimes, as well, the Mountie said.

"There is definitely a relationship to them," he said. "But you wouldn't have a high rate of property crime if you didn't have a high rate of drug use."

Nation members can report criminal and drug activity by leaving a message at 403-901-7849. A call-back number is required even when a name is not revealed.

RCMP will review calls and messages on a daily basis.

About the Author

Livia Manywounds is a reporter with the CBC in Calgary, a rodeo competitor and a proud member of the Tsuut’ina First Nation.