Did you know that this week was National Block Parent Week in Canada? This year marks 48 years of this amazing network of volunteers helping with community safety. Calgary no longer takes part in Block Parent programs, but Airdrie is still proudly taking part in this safety initiative. Communities like Bayview, Pier 11 and Canals Landing all have the added security of the Block Parent Program in Airdrie.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Block Parent program, you may be familiar with the trademark window sign that all Block Parents have—red and white and indicates someone over the age of 18 is available to answer the door for help. Block Parents are responsible adults, who volunteer their homes as temporary refuges in the event of an emergency. All Block Parents are vetted by local police, and trained to deal with emergency situations.
In addition to being a safe space for children, simply the presence of a Block Parent sign in a home’s window, gives a visible reminder to people that citizens are watchful of their neighbourhood.
When a child is in a dangerous or frightening situation, they can call upon a Block Parent, some situations could be:
- Lost, hurt or ill
- Caught in severe weather
- Frightened by a stranger or potential predator
If you’re interested in learning more about the program, or becoming a Block Parent home, you can contact the Airdrie Block Parent Program at 403-831-2883. If you’re not in Calgary or just want some ideas on how to make your neighbourhood safer, here’s some tips for a safety-centric community:
- Know your neighbours: this is probably the most important and helpful tip, but having a good relationship with your neighbours will keep a sense of safety and security in your community. Neighbours can look out for each other and watch over another’s property when they are out of town.
- Keep security a priority: taking preventative measures to keep your home secure will not only prevent break-ins at your home, but help prevent them in your community too. Burglars will lurk in areas where they can hit multiple places at once, so always lock your doors, and consider added measures like security systems or motion-sensored lights.
- Report suspicious activity: the second you notice suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, report it to your local police station. Another feature that the Calgary Police has, is an online crime map, so you can literally see what kinds of criminal activity are going on in your neighbourhood.
Staying connected with your community and your neighbours is your best safety defence, and helps build stronger communities too.