Lacombe County Council backs proposed federal rural crime study

Lacombe County council is supporting a proposed federal study to combat rural crime.

On March 8, the Benalto and Area Rural Crime Watch Society (BARCWS) asked council to support Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs in her proposed motion to the government to begin a study on rural crime.

Council decided to endorse the proposed study and will contact the standing committee on public safety and national security, of which Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins is a member.

Jim Morton, BARCWS president, said he’s glad council wants to support the fight against rural crime.

“Lacombe County council represents rural Alberta and … I think it’s a good step forward,” said Morton.

Morton said property crimes have increased dramatically since 2015.

“With property theft comes the increased risk of violence … and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.

“We want to have (the government) discuss rural crime at a federal level,” said Morton. “We want to get some help out here in rural Alberta to get crime under control.”

Rural residents are concerned and scared by the crime, Morton said, adding they would feel more safe if they had the federal government’s support.

“We want to get some assistance from the legal system in getting the laws more equitable for the property owners trying to protect their property and families,” he said.

READ MORE: Provincial funding for RCMP will help Central Alberta crime reduction units

In November, more than 100 members from the BARCWS went to the legislature in Edmonton.

“We asked the official opposition to express our concerns,” Morton said.

Recently the provincial government put $10 million into fighting rural crime. Morton said between going to the legislature and sending multiple letters, rural Albertans were able to get the Alberta government to help.

Morton added he also suspects this move was made by the Alberta government to match what the Saskatchewan government’s efforts in fighting rural crime.

“There are a number of different groups attacking the same problem and we’re happy to see those results,” he said.

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