FILE - Crime statistics for RCMP detachments, including Red Deer, can be found at online at rcmp-grc.gc.ca. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

FILE - Crime statistics for RCMP detachments, including Red Deer, can be found at online at rcmp-grc.gc.ca. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

Crime rate website criticized for listing Red Deer

‘Misinformation can be dangerous when it’s just taken as a fact’

A Red Deer Polytechnic sociologist has one word to describe how Red Deer could possibly be ranked one of the 100 worst crime-ridden cities world-wide — crazy.

The website numbeo.com, which estimates crime levels based on surveys taken by visitors to the website, puts Red Deer in 73rd place out of 464 communities around the globe when it comes to crime.

“Surveys out there show that people tend to overestimate crime. People have a very skewed perception. So if that’s the only source of their data, that’s very problematic,” said Krista Robson, an instructor with a background in criminology.

Similarly, she recalled how two homicides in 2009 resulted in Saskatoon, Sask. being ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the world — ahead of places like Bagdad and Kandahar — based on how data was used.

“It just was outrageous,” Robson said.

Related:

Red Deer vehicle theft up 111% in first quarter of 2022

Red Deer RCMP Cpl. Mike Evans said police recognize that a person’s perception of their overall safety is equally important as their actual safety. But when it comes to crime statistics, it’s important that the information comes from a credible source.

“Misinformation can be dangerous when it’s just taken as a fact. It’s important for people to understand where that data is coming from,” Evans said.

“For data on our local crime statistics, it’s best to go to the crime statistics available on our RCMP where the residents can review quarterly updates for our local detachment.”

Crime statistics are available at rcmp-grc.gc.ca, or visit the city’s crime map at reddeer.ca.

The latest RCMP statistics show vehicle thefts surged 111 per cent in the first three months of 2022 in the city compared to the same quarter last year. Break and enters were up 31 per cent, possession of stolen goods was up 11 per cent, and theft over and under $5,000 climbed two per cent.

Red Deer RCMP Supt. Holly Glassford said other than the usual spike in winter vehicle thefts when they are left alone idling, no other reason for that increase has been identified.

“Crime stats are fluid and it’s really not uncommon to see statistics go up and down from quarter to quarter. Many factors impact changes in quarter crime stats,” Glassford said.

“When we look at the five-year trends, we have seen a decrease in our theft of motor vehicles and our break and enters.”

Residents can help reduce crime by joining Citizens on Patrol, signing up for the security camera registry CAPTURE, using the bicycle register Garage 529, and reporting all suspicious behaviour no matter how small it may seem, she said.

“Don’t assume someone else has reported it because those tips help guide our patrol activity and special operations in the community,” Glassford said.

Related:

Crime may rebound as pandemic eases, warns Red Deer RCMP

Darren Boyer, founder of the crime-tracking app Lightcatch, said communities that report suspicious activity proactively, whether on Lightcatch, or to the police, are far safer.

And more citizens in the Red Deer region need to participate, he said.

“We see that Red Deer and Red Deer County have some of the lowest suspicious activity reporting compared to peer regions. Because of that there’s a lot of extra property crime,” Boyer said.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

crime ratered deer city