The RCMP say two rural crime reduction pilot projects in central Alberta were successes.
The projects were launched in the northern region surrounding Wetaskiwin, from April 16 to Aug. 16 in 2018, and in the Sylvan Lake region, from Sept. 1 to the end of December. The project in Sylvan Lake was a joint forces operation with the Lacombe Police Service.
The combined projects resulted in 129 arrests, 113 arrest warrants executed, 10 search warrants executed, 53 recovered/seized vehicles and 13 seized seized firearms. There was also 300 fresh charges laid and 320 charges brought forward from other jurisdictions.
Central Alberta detachment jurisdictions have shown a decrease in reported crimes – criminal code files decreased by 11 per cent in 2018 from 2017 and property crimes, which had been on the rise since 2014, decreased by 15 per cent in 2018 from 2017.
“The success of these two pilot projects makes it clear that our policing approach is making a difference. The intelligence gained through these two projects will be used in 2019 with further ‘short term teams’ and Joint Forces Operations,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Groves, Central Alberta District Advisory NCO.
RCMP say groups, such as the Rural Crime Watch Association and Citizens on Patrol, continue to work with the RCMP to be the eyes and ears of the rural communities. These partnerships have led to many arrests and the recovery of stolen property.