What to do when you see vehicles driving in green spaces

The Cambrian Heights Community Association is working to address an issue brought forth by several residents: vehicles driving off road in our green spaces. This is not a new activity to our community or to the city in general. What brings this activity to our attention is an escalation of the damage and disrespect for public safety and parks. In the January newsletter we reported the surprising destruction that took place in November. We wish to follow up that report with the following:

  1. What to do when you see this crime occurring; and
  2. Results of discussions with City representatives.

Reporting a crime in progress:

Driving through parks is a crime.

Any crime in progress can be reported to 911 or directly to the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 (and press “0” to speak to someone immediately).

It is recommended that:

  • You keep the police non-emergency number handy for quick reporting (e.g., program it into your cell phone; post it on your fridge);
  • You call as soon as safely possible;
  • You do not approach these people or their vehicles; and
  • You do not assume that someone else has made the call to the police.

Be prepared to give the location (i.e., a house address nearby) and a description of the vehicle.   A licence plate number and/or pictures are helpful if they can safely attained, but they are not necessary.

Reporting a crime that has already occurred:

Any damage to our parks should be reported as soon as possible to 311. Do not assume that someone else has made the call.

If you notice that someone has driven through the parks please contact the Community Association at 403-284-1175 or cambrianheights@gmail.com with the location, approximate date and time of the crime, and any damage noted. The Community Association is tracking this information and sharing it with the Police and other City departments.

You may also report any damage or criminal behaviour anonymously to CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at http://calgarycrimestoppers.org/home.

Discussions with Parks and Police:

Deterring this activity is very difficult for Parks and Police.

Parks has had many ideas proposed over the years and some solutions have been implemented in other communities. Unfortunately, most have failed to fully stop the behavior. For example, fencing and obstacles merely shifted the activity to other parks. In other cases, the drivers found new entrances to access the area causing more damage.

Police have temporarily increased patrols in our area and officers respond as quickly as possible to calls.

Community involvement:

After our initial discussions, it appears the best solution for deterring this activity is public awareness, education and action. We can start by taking individual responsibility for our green spaces. If we see this activity in progress, we can report it to 911 or 403-266-1234 (press “0). If damage is done to our parks we can call 311. At the community level, the Community Association can review its programs and services to see if we can increase respect, stewardship and positive use of our green spaces. We can continue to work with City representatives to consider physical deterrents at strategic locations within Cambrian Heights.

We encourage you to contact the Community Association to learn more about this issue. You can leave a message at 403-284-1175 or email: cambrianheights@gmail.com. Board members will be available to chat at our upcoming Winter Party on February 14th from 1:00 to 4:00pm at the rink behind the Community Hall. Please come out to enjoy our great skating rink, free skates, hot chocolate and camaraderie of neighbours.

We look forward to hearing your ideas and solving this issue together to keep Cambrian Heights a vibrant and strong community.

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