A new Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) detachment in Conception Bay South is welcome news to many residents and businesses, who worry about crime in their community.
But those who spoke to The Telegram Thursday morning around the town — which, with a population of 27,000, is the second largest municipality in Newfoundland and Labrador — hope the extra police presence will mean a reduction in illegal activity — with fewer armed robberies, break-ins, speeding and impaired driving.
“It’s about time,” George Dawson said as he emerged from a Marie’s Mini Mart in Topsail. “Maybe now they’ll catch more of those idiots who speed all the time and all those impaired drivers, too.”
In a ceremony held just down the road at the C.B.S. Town Hall in Long Pond, it was announced that the town hall, located at 106 Conception Bay Highway, will be the site of the new police detachment. It includes an inspector, administrative staff, community services, a criminal investigation division, operational patrol services, a police service dog unit, a telephone reporting centre and traffic services.
“My gosh, how could people not like that?” said Sharon White, who has lived in C.B.S. her entire life. “It certainly makes you feel a little more secure, knowing they’re nearby.”
White said while the RNC has been doing its best to combat crime in the town, she’s counting on a safer community now that they’re officially part of it.
“It used to be such a lovely community here,” she said. “Years ago, the most you’d see is a bit of vandalism. Now, they’d do anything to get a bit of money, and you know it’s all drug related, people desperate for a bit of money. It’s shocking. Let’s hope we see a difference.”
“I’m sure it will improve things,” added Corina Mercer. “You can’t let kids go out and play these days, you’re so nervous about who will come around.”
Jillian O’Toole, the manager on duty at the Esso gas station in Manuels, said many businesses are being hit by criminals, such as those who do “drive-offs,” pumping gas and taking off without paying.
“I think it’s great (about the new detachment),” O’Toole said, “especially working in retail.”
Roger Powers, owner of the Stop and Save store on the Conception Bay Highway in Long Pond, commended city council and Mayor Terry French for finally landing an RNC detachment for the town.
Powers worries about the raft of armed robberies and thefts in the area in the last number of years.
“Things have certainly changed over the years,” said Powers, who has owned a store for 23 years. “You’ve got to have a high-tech security camera these days, with all the armed robberies and thefts.
“Having our own detachment is great news. Maybe there will be quicker response time and (officers) will do something about speeding around here.”