(L-R) Supt. Andy Hobbs, Vancouver
Police Dept; Kelvin Neufeld, Fraser
Valley Real Estate Board president;
W Dave Watt, Real Estate Board of
Greater Vancouver president; Insp.
Richard Konarski, Langley RCMP

There are many parents who have experienced that gut-wrenching feeling of not knowing where their child is, whether it’s for just a few minutes or for many hours.

“Our stomachs turn when we get a panicked call from a parent saying their child is missing,” said Inspector Richard Konarski, Langley RCMP. “Time is our enemy. The longer it takes to find a child, the more danger they may be in.”

Konarski was one of two keynote speakers at the 9th Annual Realty Watch Police Breakfast, held in Burnaby on September 5, 2008. The event was sponsored jointly by the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver real estate boards.

Superintendent Andy Hobbs, of the Vancouver Police Department, added that active community involvement in assisting the police is vital for the safety of our neighbourhoods and cities.

“The police can’t do it alone,” said Hobbs. “We need the help of people like REALTORS® who are perfectly positioned to know if a crime has been committed or to spot a missing child or vulnerable adult. We rely on your participation to help keep our communities safe.”

The popular event, attended by police officers and REALTORS® from across the Lower Mainland, was hosted by W. Dave Watt, REBGV president, 2008-09, and Kelvin Neufeld, FVREB president, 2008-09.

 

The police can't do it alone. We need the help of people like REALTORS®.

 

 

 

“I can’t even begin to describe my level of anxiety and panic when, years ago, my then three year-old son disappeared while I was looking after him and his baby brother,” Watt said. “Following an hour of frantic searching, he suddenly reappeared after having been next door with his five year-old friends. I think of that incident whenever I get a fan-out. I always keep a lookout for the missing child or adult.”

REALTORS® are able to observe and report to police any suspicious activity they may happen upon in their day-to-day business. In emergency situations, REALTORS® respond to a police/RCMP-activated fan-out via Touchbase® to search for missing or abducted children, or vulnerable adults. Within minutes of receiving a fan-out request from police, Realty Watch sends a message to REALTORS’® phones, pagers, PDAs and BlackBerrys® asking them to keep a lookout for a missing person.

Both Inspector Konarski and Superintendent Hobbs commended Lower Mainland REALTORS® for taking the initiative to implement the Realty Watch program.

“The longest walk for a police officer is that of going to a family and telling them their loved one is dead,” explained Konarski. “If we can avoid it even once, our efforts are worth it.”