Total criminal code crime in Red Deer was down by three per cent in 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Total criminal code crime in Red Deer was down by three per cent in 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Crime may rebound as pandemic eases, warns Red Deer RCMP

20% jump in motor vehicle thefts in 2021

Red Deer’s crime rate was down by three per cent last year, and between 2017 and 2021 crime dropped 29 per cent, according to the latest statistics.

But Insp. Holly Glassford, acting RCMP Officer in Charge in Red Deer, cautioned that some crimes will likely increase as people return to their normal lives.

“We may see a bit of a rebound in some areas — not a cause for alarm. We will be watching it closely,” Glassford said.

She said more people working at home during the pandemic meant more eyes on the streets, backyards, city parks and trails.

“It really helped to deter some of the typical criminal behaviour that you would see when people are away from their residences during the day.”

Red Deer saw a 35 per cent drop in property crime over the last five years, despite a slight increase of five per cent in 2021.

Related:

Criminal activity an issue in Red Deer compared to other Alberta communities, says founder of crime-tracking app

Red Deer has also seen a dramatic 73 per cent decline in possession of stolen goods over five years. The decrease continued in 2021 with a 25 per cent drop.

She said that significant reduction speaks to the development of the annual policing plan where property crime was identified as a top priority and the creation of a property crime unit at the Red Deer detachment.

Last year Red Deer saw a 41 per cent drop in failing to comply and breaches, and a five-year drop of 21 per cent. Glassford attributed it to continued use of Pinpoint strategy, an intelligence-driven policing model to identify problem areas, repeat offenders and emerging issues, which allows RCMP to target enforcement accordingly.

“We do a lot of crime mapping and hot spot targeting to deploy the resources in the appropriate places.”

She said the five-year trend showed a 39 per cent drop in motor vehicle theft, but last year thefts jumped by 20 per cent when 949 vehicles were stolen.

“This is something we’ve identified through our crime mapping and our hot spot targeting to deploy our resources in the areas where we’re seeing the increase in the theft of motor vehicles.”

Related:

Red Deer crime rate dropped significantly in early 2021

Other 2021 Red Deer crime statistics show:

• 47 per cent increase in arson.

• 39 per cent increase in fraud.

• 27 per cent drop in homicides and offences related to death.

• 27 per cent increase in sexual assaults.

• 26 per cent drop in offensive weapons.

• 17 per cent increase in mischief/damage to property.

• 15 per cent drop in robberies.

• 3 per cent drop in break and enters.

Glassford said about 25 per cent of stolen vehicles have keys left inside, and earlier this year RCMP initiated Operation Cold Start to encourage residents to change their habits during the cold weather to reduce thefts. The public can also help reduce crime by reporting any suspicious activity or crime so police can use the information to plan and conduct more strategic patrols and implement other strategic policing tactics.

“Just by reporting the suspicious activity, whether it’s mischief or petty theft, it does help us to identify the hot spots and criminal patterns.”

Residents and business owners can join CAPTURE, a voluntary security camera registry, to assist in police investigations. To register visit reddeercapture.ca.

Red Deerians can share their experiences and concerns to help identify policing priorities by taking an online survey at reddeer.ca/app which will be used to develop Red Deer’s 2022-2024 Annual Policing Plan. The survey is open until Feb. 23.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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