Calls to Lacombe police way up in 2017

Despite increased workload, officers made a big dent in property and person crimes

Calls to Lacombe Police Service were up 18 per cent last year.

The 20-officer police force took 7,095 calls in 2017 compared with 6,017 a year earlier, says the force’s annual report, which was presented to city council on Monday.

Despite the extra work, crime was down in a number of high-profile categories.

Crimes against persons were down 30 per cent, property crimes were down 22 per cent and family dispute incidents were down 11 per cent. Theft statistics also improved with thefts over $5,000 down 24 per cent and thefts under $5,000 down 17 per cent.

Not all of the news was good. Impaired driving charges were up 24 per cent, drug charges were up 18 per cent and break and enters up 23 per cent.

Frauds more than tripled — 215 from 62 a year earlier.

“This increase was the result of an increase in reported telephone and internet types of frauds and will be an area of focus for crime prevention initiatives moving forward,” says Lacombe Police Chief Lorne Blumhagen in his report to council.

Last year, police put a lot of focus on cutting down on vehicle collisions through education and enforcement at pedestrian crossings and high-collision intersections, says the report.

Although the number of collision was up 11 per cent last year, injury collisions were down 27 per cent. There were no fatal collisions.

Lacombe Police Service has undergone some major changes in the past 18 months.

At the end of 2016, the force took over its own dispatch to speed up response times.

That November, 911 calls were passed directly from the 911 centre to Lacombe police without first going through the RCMP’s communication centre in Red Deer.

About the same time, police move into a new $8.7-million station on the east side of Hwy 2A.

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