September 4, 2018 2:45 pm
Updated: September 4, 2018 7:50 pm

RCMP tout success of Alberta rural crime strategy

WATCH: The RCMP is releasing its mid-year report card on crime reduction, which includes what appear to be improvements for rural communities that have faced a steady rise in property crimes in recent years. But as Sarah Offin reports, not everyone is seeing evidence that things are getting better.

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RCMP joined provincial officials and members of Alberta’s crime watch groups in Airdrie Tuesday to tout the success of a program launched this year to help reduce rural crime.

Police reported property crimes — excluding fraud, mischief and arson — fell 11 per cent between January and July in rural detachments.

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Police are attributing their success to the Rural Crime Reduction Program, launched last winter. The program was announced by police after some rural residents said they were being repeatedly victimized, mostly in property crime-related incidents like home break-ins and vehicle thefts.

READ MORE: ‘Crime is everywhere’: Rural victim fed up after face-to-face encounter with suspect

“The rural crime reduction strategy is working. In the six months since we announced $10 million in funding for a seven-point action plan, RCMP have recorded a noticeable decrease in property crimes,” said Kathleen Ganley, Alberta’s minister of justice and solicitor general in a news release Tuesday.

RCMP said the program has been successful because their strategy involved targetting repeat offenders as well as working with volunteer community crime watch groups.

LISTEN: RCMP Supt. Peter Tewfik joins Calgary Today to discuss the RCMP’s successes in fighting rural crime

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When asked about recent demands for those volunteers to receive tax breaks, much like volunteer firefighters, Ganley said it’s something they would explore.

“It’s certainly something that we can look into because of the increase in the number of people coming forward,” said Ganley.

Crime reduction units have made more than 500 arrests with more than 1,600 charges laid since February.

READ MORE: Crime severity up in Alberta; rural crime also up: Statistics Canada

— With files from the Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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