04/27/2015 04:08 EDT | Updated 07/30/2015 08:59 EDT

Victoria Dog Watch invites dog walkers to help keep streets safe

The new Downtown Victoria Dog Watch Program is inviting dog owners to lend not only their eyes and ears, but also their noses and tails, to help keep the neighbourhood safe.

"You need to take [your dogs] out on the street to do their business, so you're out and about at all hours of the day and night," coordinator Ellen Henry — who is also a Block Watch captain — told On The Island's Gregor Craigie.

"You tend to know your community. It's not restricted to one block — you may be walking in larger parts of downtown, so it's easy to keep an eye on what's happening."

Henry says the idea came from her husband, David Rittenhouse, and now she's putting it into action. The pair have a beagle/spaniel mix named Rosa, and Henry said walking the dog had helped them get to know their neighbours.

"We get to know the dogs, eventually we get to know, 'Right, that's Lucky's mom,' and so we're chatting with them and it becomes much more of a neighbourhood. The streets feel safer," she said.

Dog Watch participants are being asked to keep an eye on the community and let police know about smaller crimes, like car theft, bike theft or graffiti.

Members will get training on what to look for by Block Watch organizers. An orientation session has tentatively been set for May 27 at Bosley's on Yates Street.

To hear more from Ellen Henry, listen to the audio labelled: Dog Watch to keep an eyes, ears and noses on Victoria.