New Brunswick's location on the Atlantic coast as well as sharing a border with the United States means the province is well situated for those involved in criminal activity. The province's 5,500 kilometres of coastline and its isolated, remote airstrips provide places to bring illegal and contraband items into the province for distribution.
The New Brunswick RCMP Coastal and Airport Watch Program wants to remind residents of the importance of keeping an eye out for activity that looks out of the ordinary and to report it to police.
"There are things that residents living along the coast or near an airstrip can look for when it comes to criminal activity," says Cpl. Don Martin, RCMP coastal watch. "If you see something that looks out of the ordinary that's the time to call police, so that we can go and investigate."
The illegal activity can happen day or night but those involved in these types of activity will take steps to try and blend in or hide their true intentions, they will make every effort to appear as if they belong in that particular setting.
If you live along the coast, here are some possible signs of illegal activity to be aware of:
- Boats operating without proper lights / markings.
- Boats of foreign registry in very remote or secluded areas.
- Vessels purposely avoiding other vessels by changing direction.
- Smaller vessels in the area of a much larger vessel.
- Boats operating at odd times, not consistent with fishing schedules or other normal activities.
- If you are near remote airstrips, the RCMP suggests being aware of the following:
- Aircraft landing after hours / not using proper lighting.
- Aircraft with covered windows to prevent anyone from seeing into the plane.
- Aircraft not displaying the proper registration markings or appear to have been altered ('CF' & 'CG' indicates Canadian / 'N' indicates U.S.).
- Unusually strong odours coming from the plane such as coffee, cleaners or perfume. These are often used to mask the odour from illicit cargo.
RCMP ask that you call police immediately to report any suspicious or unusual activity. The following information can be important when contacting police:
- Time, date and location of occurrence (GPS co-ordinates if available).
- A description of what is taking place.
- If possible, from a distance, what the individuals look like, a description of any vehicles, vessels or aircraft along with a licence number, vessel identification number or aircraft tail number.
- Any unique visible markings that help describe the vehicle, vessel or aircraft.
RCMP are looking for the information and do not want you to approach or question the individuals involved. You can report suspicious activity by calling Coastal/Airport Watch at 1-800-665-6663 or by contacting your local RCMP detachment or police agency.