Veer: Public safety is council’s top priority

The number one question that City Council continues to hear from our fellow Red Deerians, is, “What are you doing about crime and public safety?”

Public safety continues to be Council’s highest priority, and will continue to be until our community see results from our crime prevention, intervention and enforcement efforts. In response to the public’s safety concerns, I thought I’d focus this month’s column on some of the safety tactics and priorities the City and RCMP are working on.

The Annual Policing Plan was developed by RCMP in consultation with citizens and The City of Red Deer. A community engagement process occurred in March 2018, related specifically to policing priorities. Respondents indicated that drugs, property crimes and safety issues in general are the most important policing priorities in Red Deer.

• Following the review and analysis of community input, crime trends and statistics, Council identified the following priority areas for enforcement: Priority 1 – Drug and Property Crime, Priority 2 – Downtown, Priority 3 – Level of Service and Responsiveness.

• During budget debate, City Council approved 10 additional RCMP members to be allocated as follows: Six members will be allocated to the Crime Reduction Team, doubling the current roster, and four members have been allocated to a new unit dedicated to the Downtown core.

• In response to local crime trends, the RCMP are intensifying focus on: repeat offenders and crime hot spots, special projects such as drug trafficking sweeps and warrant round-ups, and partnerships such as the Priority Crimes Task Force.

• Pinpoint is a crime reduction strategy that uses data and information about repeat offenders to proactively deal with crime. Some of these crime reduction strategies include:

• Working with parole and probation to arrest those who do not comply with probation or parole terms.

• Rounding up people with outstanding warrants.

• Targeted response to auto theft prevention.

• Piloting an automated license plate reader as a tool to track down stolen automobiles, places and persons with outstanding warrants.

• Having a strong police presence in identified crime hot spots.

• The Police & Crisis Team help people in time of crisis, and connect people with resources needed to address issues in the long term.

• A Community Safety Strategy was adopted in September 2016 with 16 recommended actions that focus on education, prevention, intervention and enforcement.

• There is continued implementation of crime reduction strategies with a focus on drug and property crime and downtown. These strategies include:

• Investigating new bylaws (i.e. pawn shop bylaw).

• Bicycle registry as an online voluntary platform for registering bicycle information.

• Drug enforcement and education.

• Increase resources on crime reduction team.

• Enhance business engagement through information sessions, direct contact to victims, drop-ins.

• Investigate business registry.

• Continue downtown enforcement strategy.

• Investigate implementation of CCTV cameras.

• Continued focus on repeat offenders.

• Investigate creation of a downtown police storefront.

• Continue enhanced policing shifts.

• Increased utilization of “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” and Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre and partners for outreach and education.

• A policing review is also underway. This review will explore what option is right for Red Deer as it pertains to how Red Deer’s policing service is delivered.

City Council also continues to call on the Province to support and fund policing in Red Deer. I recognize this is a lot of information, however Council knows that it is important to update you on the many safety initiatives we have underway.

As always, we hope this helps to answer some of your questions and Council thanks you for the ongoing opportunity to represent you.

Mayor Tara Veer

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