A new property crime unit launched in southeast Alberta has made significant waves in combatting criminal activity in the area since its implementation in April, according to provincial law enforcement resources.
The unit — created through a joint forces initiative between the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), Medicine Hat Police Service and the RCMP — aims at tackling regional property crime while assessing the correlation between that and street-level drug activity within Medicine Hat and surrounding areas.
“By regionalizing our Property Crime Unit and working closely with our partners in the RCMP, through the effective leadership of ALERT, our communities will be safer and criminals will soon learn that enforcement has no borders,” Medicine Hat police Chief Andy McGrogan said in a news release on Tuesday.
According to ALERT, since its implementation in April, the unit has made 73 arrests, which have resulted in more than 250 charges laid.
The unit said it has also recovered $34,000 worth of drugs and more than $240,000 worth of stolen goods, including vehicles, power tools and licence plates.
Officials added the integrated unit has allowed officers to detect property theft crimes in several areas of southern Alberta, including Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Cypress County, Forty Mile County, Newell County and Sundre.
“Criminals don’t respect borders,” ALERT CEO Supt. Dwayne Lakusta said.
“Through an integrated, collaborative policing approach, we can provide a swift and agile response to this multi-jurisdictional crime trend.”
Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said the province is providing ALERT with $50 million in new funding over four years.
“Property crime — much of it driven by drug addiction — endangers the safety and security of Albertans. I am confident ALERT’s innovative partnership with the Medicine Hat Police Service and the RCMP will help bring many of those responsible for drug-related crime in southeastern Alberta to justice,” Schweitzer said.
Anyone who suspects drug or gang activity in their community is asked to contact their local police service or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.