Hundreds of fresh eyes will be panned toward Kelowna’s streets starting this week, in search of criminals.
It’s not a new crime-fighting force police superintendents dream of, however.
Local Mounties, in conjunction with the Okanagan Mainland Real Estate Board, have launched Realty Watch—a program that immediately disperses information like Amber Alerts or various other crime notices to the region’s 800 realtors.
In turn, if they see anything suspicious, realtors can give the police the intel.
“It literally gives me goose bumps that we can fan this information out,” said Sgt. Ann Morrison.
“Police can’t be everywhere all the time and we need the extra eyes and ears.”
And, when it comes to finding extra eyes and ears, realtors are the men and women who are best suited to the job.
“Most property crimes are committed weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., a time when realtors are travelling through residential and commercial areas, conducting their regular business routine,” said Brenda Moshansky, a realtor and former president of the board.
“This puts them in a unique position to observe crimes about to happen or already in progress.”
She warned the group of realtors convened in Kelowna on Wednesday to learn about the launch of the program, however, that it’s not their job to do anything other than observe and report what they see to the Mounties.
Although this region launched the program this week, Realty Watch has been running successfully in the Lower Mainland since 1994 and has been credited with some huge successes.
Among the top accolades was helping police locate two missing children and one vulnerable senior. They’ve also helped track down two people wanted by police for undisclosed crimes.
According to one of the realtors who was learning of the program Wednesday, it’s a partnership that really helps the industry, too.
“I was a realtor in the Lower Mainland, and we’d get one, two, three alerts a day,” Moshansky said. “I was showing a home to a family, and told them of a missing five-year-old boy. They were really impressed…it helps raise our profile in their eyes.”
That said, Moshansky pointed out the program isn’t about benefitting realtors. It’s just a matter of working toward the community’s well-being.