REALTORS® host crime prevention breakfast with police

REALTOR® Risa Bassetto was driving home one day last year when she noticed an elderly person standing alone on the sidewalk. Gut instinct told Bassetto something about that wasn’t quite right.

The next day, the Realtor checked the Realty Watch fan-out requested by the Vancouver Police Department and discovered that an elder of the same description was reported missing.

Bassetto shared what she had observed to the police, which led them to locate the missing senior who was then returned home safely.

It is that kind of community support that has kept Realty Watch thriving for close to two decades and why some 125 Realtors, police officers and crime prevention professionals gathered on November 3 for the 18th annual Realty Watch Police Breakfast.

Realty Watch is a community partnership between real estate boards and police across the Lower Mainland. The program leverages Realtors’ knowledge of and presence in communities to help authorities locate missing persons.

The event, which was hosted by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, kicked off the BC Crime Prevention Association’s annual Training Symposium which is centering on crime prevention in changing times and the importance of community partnerships.

FVREB Vice-president Darin Germyn, who shared emcee duties for the breakfast, explained why Realtors are such good ambassadors for a crime prevention program like Realty Watch.

“Realtors are community experts,” said Germyn. “  We know our communities intimately. We show houses in every nook and cranny. We’re constantly on the road, and we’re constantly connected.”

Guest speaker Chief Neil Dubord of the Delta Police Department also stressed the importance of community partnerships.  “It’s a deposit in the bank of public trust,” said Chief Dubord. “In Delta, we don’t police over the community, we police with the community. And my message here today is thank you – thank you for being a part of the community.”

Burnaby RCMP Ins. Dianne Hartwick told the crowd of Realty Watch supporters, “Partnerships in our community, like we enjoy with REALTORS®, are essential to what we do.  You never know when you’re going to need these connections!”

The morning’s keynote speaker was Assistant Commissioner Stephen Thatcher, District Commander, Lower Mainland RCMP.  He spoke about a changing police force that has attracted a more diverse corps comprising individuals from different cultural backgrounds, genders, fitness levels and ages.

Members interested in learning more about participating in crime prevention can check out the Realty Watch website.