An RCMP pilot project that aims to reduce crime in central Alberta has already seen some success. The Rural Crime Reduction Project focuses on providing resources and support to regional detachments in the Wetaskiwin area.
Most recently, the project played a hand in arresting and laying charges against three individuals just days after a report of a violent carjacking.
Cpl. Laurel Scott with RCMP media relations explained on the Alberta Morning News that while they don’t always see such quick results, it’s the ideal way for a situation to turn out.
“We are able to locate suspects, arrest suspects and hold suspects accountable. A lot of these people that we deal with are repeat offenders,” she said. “So as we continue to focus on repeat offenders, we believe that will inevitably get the crime rates to go down.”
One of the most important strategies used in the Rural Crime Reduction Project is gathering of data, which can be particularly useful in studying the criminal patterns of repeat offenders.
One resource that’s proving useful is Civilian Criminal Analysts, “who are looking at a pattern or looking at the different crimes reported and looking at who is conducting those crimes too,” Scott explained.
“They are doing behind-the-scenes analyses of crime trends. That tells us where we can deploy our resources.”
While an increase in charges may make it appear that more criminal activity is taking place, it actually is more likely to indicate a drop in crime rates — that’s due to the large number of repeat offenders and those who are known to police.
“We have a small amount of those offenders that are responsible for a large amount of the crime going on in different communities,” Scott said. “One of our strategies is to just focus on those offenders and have these teams focus on removing them from the street.”
And it’s not just about getting these offenders into custody; the project also has a focus on what can be done to stop repeat offenders from continuing in that pattern. Scott said that means providing resources for rehabilitation.
“That’s the next step for these offenders and something else that we are mindful of, where there’s other government support agencies that may be able to assist,” she said. “And that’s something that we will look into too, or try to work together with other agencies.”
While the Rural Crime Reduction Project is currently a temporary measure, all four of Alberta’s RCMP districts have their own full time Crime Reduction Unit.