WATCH ABOVE: Property crimes in rural areas is causing some farmers to circulate firearms they keep in their vehicles online. Now the RCMP is concerned about potential vigilantism. David Baxter has more on the police and rural concerns. The RCMP is asking Saskatchewan residents to not take the law into their own hands after isolated reports of firearms being carried in farm machinery.
Sgt. Earl LeBlanc, with RCMP’s “F” Division Communications Unit, said residents who observe or suspect a crime are advised to report it immediately to police,
not chase or pursue suspects or suspects’ vehicles and not attempt to subdue suspects with or without a gun.
“We understand firearms are an integral part of rural life,” LeBlanc said.
“But they must be properly secured, stowed and used in accordance with the Criminal Code of Canada. We don’t want to see people getting hurt.”
LeBlanc said RCMP know some residents will carry firearms for hunting or farming. However, if there is any complaint over a type of firearm an individual has, the RCMP will investigate, LeBlanc said.
“What we don’t want people to do is carry them for their own protection or for what they feel that is to protect others,” LeBlanc said.
“Let us do our jobs.”
LeBlanc admits there are resource challenges in rural areas, adding RCMP are deployed based on priority. RCMP response times will vary across the province.
LeBlanc said residents can also secure property and lock storage sheds, outbuildings, vehicles and fuel tanks.
The comments come more than a month after the shooting death of Colten Boushie. According to police, Boushie was shot after five people entered a farm in the RM of Glenside on Aug. 9.
They were confronted by the owners and there was a verbal exchange between the parties.
A gun was fired at some point, striking a man who had arrived in the vehicle. Boushie was declared dead at the scene. Fifty-four-year-old Gerald Stanley has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death.
WATCH: The man accused of killing 22 year old Colten Boushie on a farm near Biggar, Sask., was in court for a bail hearing Thursday, where dozens of people showed up for a rally with a message of ‘Justice for Colten’. The judge reserved his decision and will issue it in a written statement.
However, LeBlanc said there is no indication any of the reports are connected to the Boushie case, which is an active investigation.
LeBlanc also addressed the incident near Fiske, Sask. on Monday where three suspects wearing black masks approached a victim south of Highway 7.
“If somebody is approached by anybody that’s got a firearm or even wearing a balaclava or whatever situation that was released yesterday out through the media, don’t confront them,” LeBlanc said.
Ryder Lee, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association CEO, said the board has talked about thefts, such as cattle, equipment and fuel thefts, in past meetings.
“Most people don’t raise living things that are prey to other animals, so people having something that can help them protect their animals and their livelihood is pretty par for the course,” Lee said.
“The frustration that we’re seeing in western Saskatchewan, I don’t think it’s just local there.”
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