Business representatives from Queens, Burnt Lake and Belich industrial parks, as well as government and RCMP, attended a meeting to discuss crime Wednesday morning. The meeting was held at the Manufacturers’ Health and Safety Association. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

Businesses seek solutions to crime

Red Deer-area industrial parks targetted

Businesses plagued by crime in three industrial parks are forming a community association to work together on solutions.

Suzy Dietrich, office manager at Nor-Ag Ltd in Burnt Lake, said it’s time to take this next step and set up a committee made up of businesses from Queens, Burnt Lake and Belich industrial parks that are proactive and will reach out to get their neighbours involved.

“This is our fourth meeting and it’s great to sit and talk about it, but what are we doing next,” Dietrich said after a community crime meeting Wednesday morning that attracted about 40 people.

Industrial parks in Red Deer and nearby Red Deer County continue to be hit hard by break-ins and thefts.

She said at the very least every business should be reporting crime and suspicious activity so police can track activity.

“It doesn’t matter if someone is walking around the building, or you see tracks in the morning in the snow, or you see someone’s finger prints on your glass — report it,” Dietrich said.

Red Deer City Coun. Vesna Higham said at the meeting she could hear that people are frustrated. There is never one clear solution, but the opiate crisis is part of the problem.

“We have an opiate crisis that is fueling crime in this area so we need to deal with this on many fronts. On city council we talk about it at every meeting. How to address that underlying opiate crisis,” Higham said.

“It’s unfortunate you have to pay an extra $300 a month to have a security company surveil your property, but that’s part of the solution that every business has to look at in this environment,” she said.

Red Deer Insp. Gerald Grobmeier said property crime is an issue across Alberta, but coming together to work on ideas that are right for this business community, as well as local police, is an important next step.

Right now RCMP are looking at developing a security camera registry so citizens and businesses could choose to make their security videos available for police investigations. RCMP have also been meeting regularly with security companies in Red Deer.

The inspector doesn’t want businesses or citizens confronting criminals.

“Taking those matters into your own hands is very dangerous. We come across people, and arrest people frequently, with guns, needles, fentanyl. We just had two police officers succumb to fentanyl and had to be revived with Narcan. These are very serious, real threats that are out there to people,” Grobmeier said.

Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen, who is co-chair of an Alberta Rural Crime Task Force, said fellow Conservative MPs started the task force a few weeks ago and want to meet with different groups, municipalities, and the public to see what can be done on a federal level to address crime.

“It isn’t a case of us having preconceived notions of where it should go. But if you use the wisdom of the crowd I think that’s something that will help us out,” Dreeshen said.

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