Lacombe County is leading an effort to make its residents less tempting targets to criminals.
Earlier this month, the county released its Guide to Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). The principle behind CPTED is to use environmental design to deter criminals while at the same time making people feel safer.
CPTED can involve changes as simple as ensuring business windows are kept clear of stacked boxes and advertising or using fences or well-tended landscaping to send the message that the business is being watched over by someone.
Other measures include improving security by ensuring doors and windows are locked properly and blind spots, where someone could sneak in without being seen, are eliminated.
As well, a number of county staff have been trained as certified CPTED inspectors.
“Our trained staff are ready to come out to assess a property for simple adjustments like landscaping, fencing or lighting,” said Mark Sproule, the county’s senior community peace officer.
Developers will be encouraged to use CPTED design principles in their projects, said Dale Freitag, the county’s manager of planning services.
“Homes, businesses and recreational areas should provide safe and secure environments, and applying CPTED principles to developments can make a tremendous difference and allows for a proactive approach to reducing crime,” he said.
Rural crime has been a hot issue in Central Alberta’s rural municipalities. It has been the topic of a number of recent meetings with crime prevention groups and town hall meetings.
Lacombe County has joined forces with Red Deer County to pay for a pair of RCMP investigators who will specifically focus on rural crime and sharing information with other detachments.
A three-year agreement worth $462,000 was appproved by Lacombe County last spring. Red Deer County made a similar commitment to spend up to $115,000 per year for an RCMP general investigative services officer.
The first position is expected to be filled in April, with the second officer showing up by July.