Thank you for the opportunity to submit a monthly column for the Red Deer Advocate. Over the course of the year, I hope to address various issues the citizens of Red Deer raise with City Council throughout our conversations in the community.
The annual Ipsos citizen satisfaction survey results are in, and while Red Deerians give overall quality of life in Red Deer a high ranking, the three top priority areas identified by Red Deerians for improvement are:
l Core Municipal Services.
I’ll discuss Red Deerians top priority in this article. This week, the City publicly launched the updated 2017-2018 annual policing plan in response to the significant concerns Red Deerians are expressing regarding crime in our community. This is the third year that the City has established municipal priorities for local RCMP in their service delivery. When the City renewed the contract with the RCMP for policing services, it became evident that the City could more strongly exercise provisions to determine local priorities and service level standards than it had in the past; The primary means of doing so is Council direction through the annual policing plan.
Last year’s policing plan had five themes:
l Reduce organized crime
l Reduce persons crime
l Traffic safety
l Support youth at risk
l Reduce property crime
Significant progress has been made on four of these five themes, with many new strategies underway. Property crime, however, continues to challenge Red Deer given the highly complex socio-economic conditions plaguing our province.
Given the progress that has been made on some crime fronts, and the new dynamics that have emerged on others, it was time to update the policing plan themes in response to what Council has consistently been hearing from our community. The new 2017-2018 policing priority themes are:
l Reduce property crime
l Reduce incidence of crime involving youth
l Build positive police and community relations
l Increase downtown police presence
l Improve quality of police service for victims of crime
It is important to note that work will continue on previous themes (such as “reduced organized crime”) as we now have proactive, local and regional strategies to enforce these areas.
Now that we have new strategic policing priorities, the work of Council, the City and the RCMP will focus on finding new ways to fulfill the objectives of the 2017-2018 annual policing plan.
I hope this helps to answer some of your questions until next month. As always, Council thanks you for the ongoing opportunity to represent you. We look forward to seeing you all in the near future and hearing about what is important to citizens in our community.
Until next time …
Mayor Tara Veer