Saskatchewan rural crime rates a focus on final day of SARM convention

According to Statistics Canada's most recent report on rural crime in 2021, Saskatchewan had the highest crime severity index for rural offenses. Getty Images via gorodenkoff

Saskatchewan’s rural communities were put in the spotlight this week at the annual Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) convention, before it wrapped up Friday afternoon.

The event highlighted a wide range of successes and concerns throughout rural municipalities such as the rise in crime.

According to Statistics Canada’s most recent report on rural crime in 2021, Saskatchewan had the highest crime severity index for rural offences.

SARM president Ray Orb said they have seen a rise in thefts and break-ins throughout the province.

“Everyone should be aware,” Orb said. “Many farmers have good surveillance systems, (but if you don’t), you can see what is going on at their farm even if they aren’t home. Just being aware of their property and their families safety.”

He also said the lack of officers in rural areas plays a major role in the issue of crime.

Story continues below advertisement

“We need more visibility from the RCMP,” Orb explained. “We need to make sure that they’re out there and unfortunately if detachments are not fully staffed and many of them are short staffed, they can’t get there on time.”

Orb said in some cases, it takes the RCMP roughly an hour to respond to a call. Orb agrees more RCMP officers need to be trained and hired, but he also believes those working on the force now could be better used.

“We know in some cases officers are tied up doing administrative work that other people can do,” Orb explained. “That funding is not something that we’re giving up on and we’re hoping there might be something in the provincial budget with some help for the RCMP.”

SARM is currently working with the provincial government on securing funding and creating solutions to bring in more officers and keep them in the rural communities.

The Saskatchewan Marshal’s Service (SMS) is also planned to help address rural crime in the province. The service is expected to begin operating in 2026.

The SMS will consist of around 70 officers. The Service will provide additional law enforcement across Saskatchewan and will help with investigations and supporting the RCMP and municipal police operations.

Their duties will include responding to areas with high crime rates, apprehending offenders with outstanding arrest warrants and investigating farming-related offenses like theft and trespassing.

Story continues below advertisement

“We know there are areas in Saskatchewan that need more visible, active policing,” Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said in a previous interview.

“The SMS will provide that, and work with RCMP and municipal police to strengthen law enforcement across the entire province.”

Click to play video: 'Union worried new Saskatchewan Marshal Service won’t reduce crime'
Union worried new Saskatchewan Marshal Service won’t reduce crime

Sponsored content