Beaverlodge District Rural Crime Watch hopes a new app will help make preventing crime in the County of Grande Prairie easier than ever. District President Leanne Van Wagner says the Lightcatch app works for anything crime-related.

The Lightcatch app itself is based on user input, with anyone who may be the victim of a crime, like a stolen vehicle, able to attach a video or photo along with a description, as well as calling the police.

“Whether it’s a stolen vehicle, missing person, or whatever it happens to be, everyone gets an alert,” Van Wagner adds.

Once the post is made, Van Whelen says everyone within 20 kilometers will get an alert that something is afoot. She adds that reporting the crime is crucial to having it resolved, which is why they are hoping to get more users in the Grande Prairie area on the app.

App creator Darren Boyer says the app has primarily been used for suspicious activity warnings, but it has also been used for dangerous driving reports, dangerous offender warnings, missing people, cougar sightings, and even missing horses.

“In cases of theft, we have seen communities increase their arrest success rate from 26 to 80 per cent,” he says. “This means criminals are failing 80 per cent of the time and repeat offenders are more likely to quit, go to jail, or move.”

The County of Grande Prairie provided $50,000 for the 12-month pilot program, which is set to end on May 9, 2022. Officials say the success of the pilot is determined by comparing crime prevention statistics in previous years. They also say that they will be looking into the number of users in the county to indicate the success rate.

The app can be found on both the Apple App store, as well as the Google Store.

Edited on May 13, 2021