Red Deer’s crime rate edged ever so slightly downward in the first three months of 2014.
Year to date statistics show crime fell 0.7 per cent overall compared to the same period last year, according to Red Deer City RCMP.
“All property and persons crime matter to our citizens, but I’m particularly pleased to see the overall reduction in violent crime, particularly with homicides and offences related to death,” Mayor Tara Veer said late Thursday afternoon when the crime statistics were released.
In 2013 there was one homicide and two offences related to death in the first months. The first three months of this year were homicide-free with no death-related offences.
Some of the crimes show that in the first three months of 2013 there were 364 assaults, and 410 in 2014 first three months.
Break and enters in 2013 were 194, and 183 in 2014. Theft of motor vehicles in 2013 numbered 162, and 184 this year.
Overall, crimes against persons were up 1.1 per cent this year. Property crimes jumped 4.8 per cent. All other Criminal Code offences, including weapon offences and disturbing the peace, dropped 12.2 per cent.
Veer said the city has shifted to a more proactive policing model during the last few months.
She said last year city council adopted service level standards for priority one and priority two calls to the RCMP and in the coming months will work on priority three calls.
With additional resources both provincially and municipally, the city also acquired the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) whose primary mandate is organized crime.
“Obviously, if the ALERT team is focusing on organized crime then we’ll start to see a direct bearing in terms of drug activity and some of the property and persons crime that are rooted in drug activity.”
She said in the last two city budgets, council made significant investments in RCMP members and in different types of police positions, for example a crime analyst who can look for links between crimes.
More resources have also been put into the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre.
Red Deer’s overall crime rate dropped 9.8 per cent from 2012 to 2013.
Veer said she was pleased with the reduction in crime so far this year but would like to see a similar annual decrease or better for 2014.
“The trend is moving in the right direction, but my hope with some of the strategies we’ve engaged in we’ll see further and more substantial reductions in the second quarter.”