Walking on the side road near the railroad tracks on Oct. 27, Wylie Oliver, 19, says he was approached by two young men on bikes and robbed at knife-point.
“I completely froze and then I just gave over my stuff because it’s not worth getting stabbed over material objects.”
Oliver started walking towards the police station on 15th Street but came across a Prince Albert Police Service patrol car and approached it for help. Wylie says the police brought the K9 unit to the area to search for the men but were unsuccessful.
Oliver says one of the robbers wore a face mask. He estimates they were between 16 and 20 years old.
Just prior to the robbery, Oliver was working on his university classes at a family friend’s house and then packed up his belongings to head to work at Marion Aquatics. He said the robbers took his cell phone, laptop computer, chargers and computer accessories, wallet, identification, credit cards and sunglasses.
Without the laptop he can’t do school work, he said.
“It has all my text books on it, it has my Zoom meeting for three of my classes, I do all my tests online,” Oliver said.
Ward 3 City Councillor incumbent Evert Botha has been vocal about his stance of crime. The side road where Oliver was robbed runs through Ward 3. Botha says the city has to work with different government agencies and community groups to reduce drug addiction, homelessness and poverty in order to reduce crime.
His platform for the 2020 civic election includes a proposal that would make the Prince Albert police oversee the city’s neighborhood watch groups and the city invest more money into community groups. He wants the city to donate space in community halls to gang prevention groups, cultural and arts programs for youth.
“Our neighbourhood watches. It started out in midtown and has grown into other communities. I’d definitely like to see the police take the lead on that,” said Botha.
Candidate Lee Atkinson, a former councillor for Ward 3, plans on designating a Safer Communities representative in Prince Albert, similar to the organization in Saskatoon that’s manned by retired police officers.
He’d also improve housing stock to attract proper tenants to the city with more residential inspections. He says since the pandemic a lot of community groups set up for youth haven’t been operating in the same capacity. He says the back alley curfew isn’t going to be effective if patrols of the alleys aren’t a priority.
"I think we have to turn it around, people have invested in their homes. I see my friends and neighbours that are moving out of the area as their only solution so there needs to be improvement."
Candidate Tony Head says if elected one of his goals is to reduce Prince Albert’s ranking on the Crime Severity Index. Head wants city councillors to work closely with Prince Albert Grand Council and the service groups and youth groups to help those people struggling with poverty and addiction problems.
“Poverty and crime reduction has to be addressed. I hear from our other candidates passing the buck and saying that the provincial and federal government needs to take action. I feel as a city we should be demanding action,” said Head.
Oliver says since the attack he’s sticking to the main streets when he walks to work. And he doesn’t feel as safe as he once did.
“It’s not really that bad compared to what some people says it is. But now seeing this, yeah, it’s somewhat bad. We need to do at least a little bit,” said Oliver.
A Go Fund Me page has raised enough money to replace some of Oliver’s belongings and get him back to class.
Oliver is in the University of Saskatchewan College of Education and wants to be a teacher when he graduates.