The latest policing goals for Red Deer include having more RCMP patrol on trails and parks, as well as more crisis team members, said Supt. Holly Glassford told city council.
Before Glassford’s Annual Police Report for the next two years was given unanimous approval by city council on Monday, she indicated changes are underway at the detachment — including increased police patrols in the city.
As well as having the six-member police patrol for the downtown, Glassford’s Annual Policing Plan for 2022 to 2024 includes two teams of two community police patrol patrolling parks, trails and other parts of Red Deer.
This new Summer Police Visibility Action Program is in response to community safety concerns on trails, and Red Deerians wanting more police presence and visibility, said Glassford.
Another goal, which has yet to be approved by the Primary Care Network, is to expand the PACT unit, which helps at mental health crisis scenes, to four members from the previous two.
Glassford said there are now one police officer and one psychiatric nurse on the team, but she would like to double this to help deal with growing mental health issues in the community.
She plans to speak to the Primary Care Network about the possibility of having two psychiatric nurses on the PACT team by this fall to accompany two police officers.
Glassford’s detachment has also set a 40 per cent target for diverting youths from going through the court system by getting them into alternative justice programs.
The 2022-2024 Annual Policing Plan addresses three priorities for policing in Red Deer: Improving response and visibility, crime reduction and engaging community members.
Each priority provides an area of focus for police, as well as specific goals within each area.
“The priorities in the new APP really speak to the challenges we are seeing in Red Deer and will drive a localized strategy to address the community’s concerns,” said Glassford, officer in charge for Red Deer RCMP.
With thefts from motor vehicles going up by 111 per cent in Red Deer from January to March, Coun. Lawrence Lee questioned the three per cent property crime reduction goal in the 2022-2024 Policing Plan.
“Why not a more aggressive target?” Leea asked Glassford, during Monday’s city council meeting.
She responded that property thefts from cars are definitely on her radar, but it’s hard to determine trends from three months of statistics. Crime stats over a five-year period are considered before the crime reduction goals are determined, added Glassford, who noted overall property crimes actually decreased over the past year.
She added the three per cent reduction target was for all property crimes, not just thefts from vehicles.
The City and RCMP worked together to develop the policing plan, which included public consultations done in February 2022. Targeted focus groups, as well as public and internal surveys, were used to gather input from the community.
“We took what we heard from the public and from our members, coupled with real crime statistics, and used that information to form the policing priorities you see here today,” said Glassford.
Mayor Ken Johnston said Red Deer will never “police our way out of crime.” It’s up to each resident to be pro-active and reduce opportunities for thefts, by locking their doors, taking valuables and keys out of vehicles, shutting garages and padlocking sheds, he added.
“Let’s not make it easy for criminals.”
The 2022-2024 Annual Policing Plan is available on the City website at www.reddeer.ca/APP.