If you have wondered whether or not your safety concerns are taken seriously, a new strategic partnership proves someone is indeed listening.

Cochrane RCMP and Cochrane Municipal Enforcement will be teaming up and conducting enhanced enforcement efforts over the next few months in a number of residential areas to improve safety for all.

Corporal Troy Savinkoff with the Cochrane RCMP says they have heard residents loud and clear when it comes to ongoing traffic-related issues in residential areas. "This particular traffic plan is basically in response to the community making complaints and making their concerns known when it comes to residential offenses taking place. We had our data analyst for the town pull off all the complaints so we can get a really good picture of where the most difficult areas are that people are complaining about in the town."

With five different residential neighbourhoods being flagged for ongoing concerns, they spent time reaching out to key stakeholders in the particular areas to help them get a clear understanding of safety concerns specific to that area. "We then chose within each of those neighbourhoods a community representative who seemed to have a good idea what the concern was in the community and engaged them in the process. We asked them about the times and the issues they were having, and from there we developed this traffic plan with the Municipal Enforcement Services to try and meet these concerns, at the times that were indicated."

The enhanced enforcement is not about ticketing people for vehicle or minor infractions, it is all about safety, shares Cpl. Savinkoff. "We are focusing on the traditional things that cause injuries on the roadways such as speed, distracted driving, seatbelts, general dangerous behaviour, behaviour as it deals with crosswalks and pedestrian safety (particularly around schools), and passing school buses with the stop arm extended."

Corporal Savinkoff says he feels many residents are frustrated with what they see as a lack of patrolling in some of these identified areas. "I can only speak to the RCMP side; the RCMP is dedicated to reducing injuries on the roadways. A lot of our enforcement activities are directed to areas where there are fatalities and serious injury collisions, and we do direct our enforcement efforts towards those. When you look at a residential neighbourhood, although we know there is reckless behaviour, the amount of injuries and fatalities that occur in those areas is actually quite low. Which is often why we tend to put our enforcement efforts elsewhere. But with that being said, there is danger in these communities and the residents have made those concerns very clear to us so this project is geared to meet those needs."

Not releasing which particular neighbourhoods, intersections or when residents may see beefed-up enforcement efforts, Corporal Savinkoff says drivers should be cautious whenever they are behind the wheel, regardless of enforcement. "All motorists should watch and mind their speed and behaviour at all times not just when the police are specifically focusing or targeting a particular roadway. Even though we are focusing on residential neighbourhoods, I recommend people spend and take special care at all times." 

Looking forward to seeing the results, depending on what they find, can lead to safety improvements being made. "We are interested to see what we are going to see for numbers. We will assess as the weeks and months go by to try and see which of these communities are in fact producing some of the largest issues, and this will involve an assessment period to see if potential improvements would help."

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