The Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) has taken a lot of steps to try and combat crime including violent crimes and murders.
PAPS chief Jonathan Bergen said over the last two years there have been 18 homicides involving 20 victims.
When looking at other cities of similar size, such as Moose Jaw, said Bergen there have been significantly fewer homicides over the same timespan.
According to Statistics Canada, Prince Albert has a population of roughly 36,000 and a metro population of 43,000.
Bergen says it’s been challenging for the police service and extremely difficult for the community.
The police service says its focus is on high visibility, proactive policing across the city. Stats ending for December 2021 continue to reflect an increasing number of calls for the service and an upward trend in violence and property crime — although the lowest number of break-and-enters in five years.
“The last couple of years of having been unusually high in offences and victims we have had to respond to,” said Bergen. “That has a great impact on the entire community.”
“In 2021, our police service responded to a tragic nine homicides, each of which left loved ones and friends devastated and shocked in our community. Investigators with the Criminal Investigation Division have laid charges in seven of these homicides and continue to investigate, in addition to (dealing with) suspicious missing person files and other serious incidents of assault,” the police service said in a media release.
Bergen says the service will be developing and implementing a strategic plan that will involve input from the community. Its focus will be to look for a balanced attack on crime prevention moving forward.
“The Prince Albert Police Service’s community policing unit remains focused on visible policing, working with business owners and organizations to address crime trends and enhance features such as better security and lighting to deter damage and thefts,” the police service said.
“The Community Safety Officers support patrol officers in addressing property crimes such as graffiti, willful damage, and shoplifting, and promote safety through regular community patrols. Two police officers continue to work with trained health professionals through the Police and Crisis Team (PACT) to respond to calls involving trauma and mental health-related concerns.”
Bergen says the crime reduction team is focused on guns, gangs, drugs and property crime. Bergen says reducing these problems can help reduce the number of homicides, stats have shown.
The newly formed proactive policing unit, approved in summer 2021, is focusing on crime trends and targeted enforcement.
The full report can be read here.