(Advocate file photo).

Red Deerians will soon see exactly where crimes are happening on neighbourhood crime map

Council hopes this strengthens crime prevention efforts and connections between citizens and police

“Crime mapping” will be introduced as a pilot project by the City of Red Deer to strengthen crime-prevention between the community and RCMP.

After considering the pros and cons of providing citizens with online maps of where neighbourhood crimes have occurred, council unanimously approved trying it for one year, starting this spring.

“I support it a million per cent,” said Coun. Buck Buchanan at Monday’s council meeting.

The retired RCMP officer has previously spoken out for giving the public access to police crime maps of the city. He believes Red Deerians will become more aware of the need for crime prevention, that more crimes will be reported and there will be increased co-operation between citizens and the police.

Paul Goranson, the city’s protective services director, told council that crime mapping has been controversial because results could be misinterpreted, causing some neighbourhoods to become stigmatized.

But as the mapping of local crimes is already being done informally by groups through social media, he said, the time has come for the city to provide more reliable data.

Goranson noted that many other Alberta communities are already making official crime maps accessible to the public, including Innisfail, Sylvan Lake, St. Albert, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.

Councillors concluded that giving the community more information would be in the public interest.

Coun. Lawrence Lee believes Red Deerians will see that no neighbourhood is immune to crime. Coun. Michael Dawe hopes a greater public awareness will prompt people to look out for neighbouring properties.

Each crime will appear on the map for a 14-day period once the crime map is posted on the city and RCMP website starting this spring.


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