Two years in Project Pinpoint greatly reducing vehicle theft in Red Deer

Despite a recent high-profile vehicle theft, a senior police officer with the Red Deer RCMP said the number of thefts has dropped “significantly.”

On July 31, a van belonging to a funeral home was stolen with a body inside it. The theft occurred in a short period of time when the vehicle was empty.

The van was found that same day abandoned, but with the body inside it, in the Glendale neighbourhood.

Statistics presented by the detachment to Red Deer City Hall bear out Insp. Gerald Grobmeier’s claim, as theft of a motor vehicle charges dropped from 389 in 2017 to 178 in 2018, between the months of January and March.

Grobmeier pointed to the detachment’s crime reduction strategy, which has been running for two years.

“It’s really started to take effect,” said Grobmeier. “We’ve been getting some good court sentences. People are being remanded into custody and it’s having an effect.

By December 2017, Grobmeier said all the people police had targeted through project Pinpoint were in custody.

“We put every single person who was identified in the project in jail,” said Grobmeier. “That was the start of our drop and ever since then, there has been a relentless pressure on those individuals.”

Grobmeier said some of the targeted individuals have received “significant” sentences, which has got them off city streets.

“We’ve been doing this now for two years, and some of the people just don’t like the pressure on them anymore and they’ve left,” said Grobmeier. “We’ve had people reach out to us to try and help them turn their lives around. We’ve never had that before.”

The Pinpoint strategy is always changing, Grobmeier said, and it is largely different from when it started two years ago.

But, vehicle owners can also take their own steps to prevent thieves from taking their car.

“We’re still having those issues, we still have people leaving their car running,” said Grobmeier. “By December and January, about 40 per cent of our stolen vehicle incidents are vehicles that are left running with the keys in. Those are numbers we can drop very quickly, but it takes some help from the public.”

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