Rising rural crime rates more than just an Alberta problem: report

Rising rural crime rates more than just an Alberta problem: report

 

A rural crime watch sign west of Airdrie on highway 567 was photographed on Monday March 12, 2018. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Alberta is not alone in its battle against the growing problem of rural crime, according to a report released by Statistics Canada.

Alberta has seen rural crime increase 38 per cent higher than urban crime in 2017,  while Manitoba (42 per cent) and Saskatchewan (36 per cent) are plagued by the issue.

“Almost half of crime in Canada’s rural areas occurred in these three provinces, which accounted for about a quarter of Canada’s population served by rural police services,” the report stated.

The report cites high rates of property crime ravishing Alberta, something Trevor Tychkowsky, past-president of the Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association, is all too aware of.

“It’s been on the rise for quite some time now — too often people are talking about the crimes, but well after the fact,” he said of the rural crime that sees the association assist RCMP.

“Each local crime watch association is responsible to each detachment. We are trying to educate people so they are locking up their stuff, properly identifying stuff . . . putting out our signs, showing people any way we can to deter the crime.”

While the three provinces show the highest increase, nationwide numbers show a 30 per cent overall increase, with 6,581 incidents per 100,000 people occurring in rural areas versus 5,082 in urban areas.

“For a long period of time here, as farmers, we were comfortable. We left our homes unlocked, we kept our keys in vehicles,” said Tychkowsky.

“In Edmonton, everything is locked up with the knowledge of ‘lock it or lose it.’ Unfortunately, as rural people, we are not quite there yet. Farmers are leaving stuff unlocked and criminals have figured that out, that we are easier targets.”

The issue has been faced head-on by agencies in Alberta, with the RCMP fighting back against rural crime by launching crime reduction units reaching every corner of the province.

Between Feb. 6 and May 25, the southern Alberta unit has executed 47 warrants, made 30 arrests, laid 234 charges and recovered 20 stolen vehicles — including a truck and tractor worth more than $225,000.

Across the province, 253 warrants have been served and a total of 1,227 charges have been laid in 263 arrests.

On top of that, the rural crime watch association operating since 1978, signed a memorandum with the RCMP in February to continue to work together to keep communities safe.

It lays out the roles and responsibilities of both the crime watch group and the RCMP. With 55 member organizations consisting of close to 17,000 volunteers across the province, the association’s role is to conduct “passive patrols” and report suspicious activity to RCMP.

Calgary

In Calgary, the crime rate has swelled to 5,588 offences per 100,000 people, based on Criminal Code incidents excluding traffic offences.

Along with that, the city’s crime severity index rose six per cent to 81.8 — nearly 10 points higher than the national average of 72.9.

Across the province, 253 warrants have been served and a total of 1,227 charges have been laid in 263 arrests.

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/crime/rising-rural-crime-rates-more-than-just-an-alberta-problem-report/wcm/9867a5fe-7a58-477e-92ea-803194d2cdfa

 

 

Comments

internationalfreepress