The mayor of McAdam is applauding the RCMP for stepping up their presence in the community in light of concerns from residents about property crime.
Ken Stannix said at least one Mountie is now assigned to patrol the village, about 75 kilometres west of Fredericton, between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. four to five days per week.
"Before we had no policing in the village after about 11 o'clock at night until about eight o'clock in the morning, and that was part of the issue. The criminals all knew that there were no police around so they could run free during those hours of operation," Stannix said.
"Now at least they know there's a police officer around. It makes them a little more cautious, and if they make errors then the the police are handy to act on those errors that they make. So yeah, so from that perspective, it's worked out better here."
Stannix said the RCMP made the change following a community meeting the village hosted in mid-June to hear from residents about their concerns around crime and the quality of policing services.
Aside from a perceived increase in crime in the village, the meeting was also prompted by what some residents say was an act of vigilante justice by two area residents who allegedly took the law into their own hands.
Billy McGillicuddy of St. Croix, about 10 kilometres west of McAdam, has pleaded not guilty to a handful of charges, including assaulting Blake Scott with a baseball bat, as well as pointing a sawed-off shotgun at him.
Dwain Gardner, 46, of McAdam was also charged in the same case, and is accused of forcible confinement, pointing a firearm, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Stannix said McAdam pays about $270,000 annually to be part of a provincial policing agreement with the RCMP.
He said the agreement means the village shares RCMP officers with a number of other communities in southwestern New Brunswick, and a call for service in the village could mean an officer has to travel from anywhere in that region.
"We've made calls here and and we've had police officers respond from Nackawic, the Oromocto area, St. Stephen area down towards Blacks Harbour.
"So I mean, it depends on when you make the call and where the RCMP officers are as to how quickly they can get here or if they can get here at all," Stannix said. "A lot of times, if it's a crime against the person, they come fairly quickly, but if it's crimes against property, that has a lower requirement for response, so it's a lower priority and therefore you may not see someone come for days."
The RCMP did not respond to a request for comment about any changes to its operations in McAdam.
Not everyone satisfied
Don Doherty, owner of McAdam Home and Building Supplies, was at the community meeting in June and said he hasn't noticed any improvement in the crime situation in the village.
"I would say [crime] is getting worse," Doherty said, adding that he hears of break-ins and thefts happening on a weekly basis from the customers who come into his store.
"It is property crime, because that's what they're using to feed their drug habits with. I mean, they steal stuff and then they fence it, and that's what they're using to buy their drugs with."
Michael Little, owner of McAdam Auto Repair, said a customer's vehicle was stolen out of his shop's lot on Sunday night.
"They're stealing cars like crazy here and everything else that is not nailed down," he said.
Little said it's just the latest in a series of thefts that have become more frequent in the past three years.
"If it doesn't improve, somebody's gonna get killed. I would say somebody'll get mad enough and kill them for whatever reason … I'm just getting scared for everybody."