July 20, 2016 3:02 pm
Updated: July 20, 2016 3:47 pm

Spruce Grove mayor ‘mad as hell’ over recent crime spike

Spruce Grove mayor Stuart Houston. July 20, 2016

Kendra Slugoski
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Stuart Houston, the long-serving mayor of Spruce Grove, said a recent hike in crime is startling and must be tackled.

“I’m mad as hell,” Houston told Global News.

“We’re not going to take it anymore.”

Houston’s concern follows an eye-opening Statistics Canada report released Wednesday morning, pointing to an 18 per cent increase in police-reported crime across Alberta.

Property crimes like break-ins and auto theft are pushing crime stats up across the country.

READ MORE: Violent crime surges upward in Canada for the first time in 12 years 

Houston believes criminals from outside of his city are coming to Spruce Grove to prey on easy targets.

He estimates auto thefts have jumped 100 per cent, and he himself was recently a victim of property crime. Houston said he left his garage unlocked and thieves took off with three bikes and tools.

“We have some real serious concerns about the crime increase in our community.”

City of Spruce Grove neighbourhood watch program

Kendra Slugoski

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Houston said Spruce Grove is still a safe place to live but council has stepped in to help RCMP.

Capital Plan discussions will begin soon but, in the interim, council will approve more dollars to combat crime.

Houston said the money will pay for RCMP overtime and more patrols.

“You’re going to see a marked increase in police presence within the City of Spruce Grove.”

There are currently 25 RCMP members working out of the Spruce Grove detachment. A regional RCMP detachment is expected to open in Spruce Grove in 2018. The detachment will re-locate RCMP from Stony Plain and house provincial Sheriffs.

Houston is also calling on the rest of his community to help police.

“They are swamped with the amount of crime going on this Capital Region.”

He is urging everyone to lock their doors and report anything suspicious.

“We have to help them out.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc

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