Crime mapping coming to Alberta communities, but it’s unclear if Red Deer is included

Alberta RCMP are looking at rolling out crime mapping across the province but it is not clear whether it will come to Red Deer.

K Division, the RCMP’s Alberta division, is in the midst of creating a mapping tool that will be rolled out in communities across the province.

Staff Sgt. Jim McDonald, Olds RCMP, wrote an email to the Advocate saying K Division, is creating a crime mapping tool “so that the community can view, through the internet, where and when certain crimes are happening.” It also says communities and policing partners are cooperating to host the crime mapping.

According to the email, the hope is that the tool will be up and running in the next few months in Olds.

Calls were not returned from the City about the status on a potential map in Red Deer.

In 2015, Red Deer council voted to explore crime mapping as a tool for the city’s community safety strategy.

Crime mapping is mentioned in the city’s community safety ad hoc committee’s 2016 community safety strategy. But the committee recommended crime mapping would be used as a community safety tactic and “only at a high level”

However, the committee recommended going a preventative by looking into social and economic trend analysis to serve as a predictor or early indicator of crime.

TerryLee Ropchan, Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre executive director, said Red Deer used to have a form of crime mapping. Every week in the Advocate a map would be published showing crime in the city.

The map ran in the paper until 2004, but ended then. Ropchan said the appetite for a crime map for the city has persisted.

“Residents really found value in it, knowing what was going on in the city,” said Ropchan.

In 2014, the CACPC put together a sample crime map using their summer staff. Ropchan said they put together a map of crime in the city based off of RCMP media releases, social media and discussion with members of the community.

“It was a sample, it was not inclusive, but it showed what a crime map might look like,” said Ropchan. “We had 15,000 hits on it in a few days. It was crazy the number of people who just want information.”

It was pulled from the organization’s website because it did not have the full picture of where and what crimes had occurred in the city.

“I think people want to know,” said Ropchan, adding the CACPC would use the information in a preventative way.

“If there’s a rash of break-ins, that’s an opportunity for us to go out and talk to residents, educate them and give them resources so they can protect themselves.”

St. Albert RCMP have a crime mapping tool available on the municipality’s website. It shows instances of theft from motor vehicle, theft of motor vehicle, break and enter, mischief and missing person crimes on a map. The map will not show the specific address of the incident, but a nearby intersection or street instead.

The proposed crime map will also have emergency situation flags will be used for short periods to show were some instances are occurring such as school lock downs, unfolding dangerous situations, evacuation or train derailment.

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