As Red Deer RCMP unveiled a new unit targeting downtown crime, statistics were released on Thursday showing police are having success making the city safer.
Both property crime and crimes against people are down from the same period last year — a trend that has continued for the past four quarters.
Supt. Ken Foster acknowledged that some may find it hard to believe crime rates are falling when there seems to be so much evidence to the contrary on social media and with some businesses getting hit repeatedly by criminals.
“But the overall numbers are, in fact, going down and our commitment is to keep putting the pressure on those repeat offenders and returning them to jail at every opportunity,” said Foster.
Break and enters were down 31 per cent (979 compared with 1,129 last year) and vehicle thefts were down 37 per cent (728 compared with 1,148 last year). Vehicle theft rates are the lowest Red Deer has seen in five years.
Total property crimes are down 31 per cent compared with the same period last year (8,977 compared with 12,987).
Robberies are down 29 per cent (82 compared with 116) and assaults are down 10 per cent (1,087 compared with 1,211).
Not all of the news is good. The number of sexual assaults is up 35 per cent (113 compared with 84). There were 52 other sexual offences reported, compared with 56 a year earlier.
Mayor Tara Veer said crime and safety continue to be the top issue for Red Deer residents and welcomed the promising statistical news.
“We’re grateful to see an overall decrease in overall property and persons crime.”
The need to continue to put resources to tacking crime came through “loud and clear” when the city sought public input into its new policing plan, said Veer.