Calkins and his colleagues to deal with rural crime in Central Alberta

Those concerned about rural Alberta crime can voice their grievances to Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins.

In a video posted on his Facebook page, Calkins said in some parts of his riding, crime is up 200 per cent.

“I’m talking property crime and violent crime,” he says.

He has launched Rural Alberta Crime Task Force along with his colleagues and hopes to listen to Albertans as the group looks for solutions.

In the hopes of talking to the public, Calkins is hosting three meetings in the riding.

In a letter to Ponoka News, he has listed three meeting dates.

Meeting information:

l Monday, Jan. 8, 6:30 p.m., Alix Community Hall, at 4849 Main St., Alix

l Tuesday, Jan. 9, 6:30 p.m., Lincoln Hall, Hwy 792, Lacombe County

l Wednesday, Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m., Liberty Hall, Hwy 611, Bluffton

In the letter, Calkins states he has received an alarming number of calls, visits and e-mails from people in the rural communities in regards to crime.

“Telling me they are afraid to leave their property so they don’t get broken into.”

The findings by Rural Alberta Task Force will be compiled in a report to Parliament, he states in the letter.

In the video, Calkins said the Alberta dream has been shattered and crime has shot up since the downturn in 2014.

“Here we are almost three years later, oil is still below $60 a barrel,” he says.

Calkins says the amount of rural crime in his riding is unprecedented. When someone breaks into a home in Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver, neighbours notice and police is called in “pretty quick,” but that doesn’t always happen in rural Alberta.

“Imagine the same situation and you’re nearest neighbours are a mile away… sometimes the local police station is 50 kilometres away,” he says.

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