Recent Alberta RCMP efforts have been focusing on repeat offenders, crime trends and using targeted enforcement through its crime reduction strategy and officials say the latest stats show it’s working.
“Our strategy is really based off of the data and information about the kinds of issues we are facing in Alberta and deep diving those problems to try come up with solutions that start to address some of the root causes of crime,” said Supt. Peter Tewfik with the Alberta RCMP Crime Reduction Strategy team.
Crime Reduction Units are operating across the province, sharing data with other officers to catch repeat offenders.
“It identifies who those offenders are in each community, that has the biggest impact in that community, as well as if those offenders have any particular warrants for their arrest,” Tewfik said. “That way, we really help our frontline members focus on who those people are that represent the biggest threat to the community.”
Property crime is one of the most common and ongoing issues, RCMP said.
Staff Sgt. Glenn Henry with the Coaldale Rural RCMP said a lot of theft can be deterred by property owners.
“A lot of these crimes are crimes of opportunity, so changing our practices,” Henry said. “I get it, in especially rural areas, leaving keys in vehicles and farm equipment and fuel and all that stuff — that’s not our reality anymore so we are going to have to be smart.”
The stats show that from January to December 2020, there was a 17 per cent decrease in break and enters compared to 2019 in RCMP-patrolled areas.
A 19 per cent decrease in theft of motor vehicles was seen and theft under $5,000 also declined, dropping by 22 per cent.
From March 2019 to April 2020, the number of top-targeted properties — properties that previously experienced the highest rates of repeat crime — dropped by 55.4 per cent.
Tewfik said some of those decreases could be a ripple effect from COVID-19 restrictions and people being around to report suspicious activity.
“I think with more people spending time at home, they are more aware of those patterns and and more aware of those things in their neighborhood,” he said. “Those things that don’t belong, they stand out more.”
To see crime rates in your area you can visit Crime Stoppers.