Join the war on crime

Good news on the crime-fighting front doesn’t mean Red Deer citizens should be less vigilant.

Good news on the crime-fighting front doesn’t mean Red Deer citizens should be less vigilant.

If anything, word that new policing initiatives are paying dividends should inspire even greater commitment to peaceful neighbourhoods.

Red Deer City RCMP Supt. Brian Simpson told a town hall meeting this week that the number of calls to police has dropped dramatically this year, to 750 a week from 1,250 a week last year. He attributes the decline to a zoning policing model that was introduced more than a year ago, increased officers on the streets and a young police force that is gaining experience.

The zoning model makes good sense: the city is divided into eight regions and officers are generally assigned to a zone for six months to gain familiarity with its problems, problem areas and problem people. Officers can respond quicker to calls and often head off issues before they escalate.

Certainly, city council has heard and responded to public calls to crack down on crime: this year, seven new officers will be added to the force and about $15 million will be spent on policing.

But those good efforts are not nearly enough, and not because of the money spent or the manpower devoted to the task.

The Institute for the Prevention of Crime, a University of Ottawa-based think tank, warns that increased criminal activity can follow on the heels of an economic downturn. We can expect increased property crimes, particularly as desperate people seek quick financial relief (break-ins jumped to 20 last week in Red Deer, from 13 the previous week).

Last week, a revived Citizens on Patrol began training about 30 people. Volunteers, working in pairs, patrol the city and alert police of any issues. It’s a good program that mines a core of goodness we should all look for. Because, ultimately, peaceful neighbourhoods depend on a commitment to personal vigilance by all of us.

In addition, city council has established a Crime Prevention Advisory Committee, in response to public concerns after the old police commission was disbanded. The first chair of the new committee, TerryLee Ropchan, is the president of Neighbourhood Watch in Red Deer. It’s another good sign that policing is a shared responsibility.

The Institute for the Prevention of Crime has a list of recommendations to reduce crime without increasing taxes. It talks at length about engaging the public in the process and about establishing strong local leadership in order to make our communities safe.

It is clear that Red Deer is getting that kind of leadership from the top.

Now the public must become similarly engaged in the war on crime.

If you’re not convinced that we’re all responsible, turn a blind eye to crime in your community and see how fast it escalates. Stay vigilant.

John Stewart is the Advocate’s managing editor.

Just Posted

Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Couillard march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month