The City of Red Deer has launched a public crime mapping tool, so residents can “understand what’s going on in our community,” says Red Deer RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff McBeth.
An online map, which was unveiled at a press conference Thursday afternoon, shows reported crime in Red Deer for multiple categories: theft from a motor vehicle, theft of a motor vehicle, theft over or under $5,000, break and enter, and mischief.
“If the public becomes educated and understands what’s going on in their community, and the tips and strategies they can use to prevent themselves from being a victim of a crime, I’d say that’s a home run right there,” said McBeth.
The publicly available map, which is a one-year pilot project, shows data from the past 14 days. For crimes in residential areas, an approximate area will be shown, instead of the exact address, to protect privacy.
Red Deer RCMP has utilized crime mapping for many years.
“We’re able to relay that information (from crime mapping) to our officers and let them know where they should be focusing their efforts, so it’s not a needle-in-a-haystack patrol.
“It’s a focused, targeted area patrol to help reduce crime in that area and apprehend individuals that are creating that crime.”
Red Deerians can report crimes, suspicious activity or suspicious persons to the Red Deer RCMP non-emergency line at 403-343-5575. Anyone witnessing a crime in progress is asked to call 911.
Mayor Tara Veer said community safety is a top priority for city council.
“It’s one more initiative we add in our toolkit in order to engage in crime prevention and strong crime enforcement in our city,” said Veer.
“Crime mapping for our local police service has been absolutely essential in terms of their ability to shift from a reactive model of policing to a proactive model of policing.”
Veer said she hopes public crime mapping will encourage citizens to “speak up” and report offences.
“We know that sometimes it’s frustrating for people to take the time to make that call, or they’re not sure if anything will come of it, but for us to sufficiently resource our policing and our police to make sure they’re allocating time, energy and resources to the right areas of our city, we need citizens to call in and report crime,” she said.
To view the map, visit www.reddeer.ca/rcmp.