City urged to adopt crime mapping to raise awareness

A tool to help address crime in Red Deer could be as simple as putting dots on a map.

A tool to help address crime in Red Deer could be as simple as putting dots on a map.

Red Deer city Councillor Buck Buchanan has put forth a motion to start crime mapping, to analyze where, how and why crime occurs.

The process is used by communities across Canada and Alberta, including Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and St. Albert.

Buchanan said the aim is to increase awareness of what happens where and make the information more publicly available.

“It’s that awareness of what is going on and the mobilization of your neighbourhood associations and groups,” said Buchanan.

He hopes the information will encourage people to look hyper-locally at what is happening and work with neighbours to address crime.

“We’ve struggled here in Red Deer to get active community associations,” said Buchanan. “If that was an outcome or byproduct of the maps, that would be an impact I’d certainly like to see.”

As part of the motion put to city council on Monday, Buchanan made it clear that the information would be vague enough as to not identify specific addresses or victims. It would provide a general area where an incident occurred.

“The whole crime mapping initiative is to make people aware of what is going on around them,” said Buchanan.

When Buchanan was an RCMP member, he said he would get a couple of calls a month from people asking if living in Lower Fairview, now known as Riverside Meadows, was really as dangerous as they had been led to believe.

“It had gotten a reputation of being a big bad place to live,” said Buchanan. “I’d start to laugh and I’d tell them I wouldn’t even blink about moving my son or daughter into Riverside Meadows. We have areas in the city that are, crime wise, much worse. Once you get that reputation, it’s easy to get and hard to get rid of.”

He hopes the crime mapping will paint a more accurate picture of where crime occurs in the city.

Red Deer RCMP Insp. Scott Tod said he would wait to comment until council gives direction on where they want to go with crime mapping, but he did note some benefits from a preventive application.

The City of St. Albert and its RCMP produce weekly crime maps outlining the number of incidents and where they occurred.

Sgt. Carolyn Cameron of the St. Albert RCMP detachment, said the crime analyst compiles the weekly statistics based on reports made by members. The map is then posted to the city website.

“St. Albert really wants to see this kind of thing,” said Cameron.

“For example, here in St. Albert we get lots of thefts of vehicles and it’s from people leaving their vehicles running and unsecured. Hopefully when they see that (on the map), they’ll see vehicles are being stolen from their area they’ll stop leaving their vehicles running and unsecured.”

Incidents such as domestic disputes and sexual assault are not included on the maps due to privacy concerns. The plots on the map are not specific to the location.

Crime maps in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat take more interactive approaches. Incidents are plotted on an online map and by clicking on them, you bring up some incident information. Incidents are labeled based on type, including assault, property crime, break and enter and drugs.

The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre attempted to develop crime maps in August of last year. However, the maps relied on police media releases and information gathered from community discussions, plus tips submitted to the centre’s websites.

Concerns were raised about the reliability and accuracy of the data.

Red Deer city council will debate the motion at its next meeting on Jan. 19.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Westerner Days could be in line to have patrons in attendance this summer as the province teased reducing COVID-19 capacity limits on outdoor events. File photo by ADVOCATE staff
Province provides hope for attendance at summer events

The province has given a positive update to organizations that hold summer… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Corey Conners, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Conners notched six birdies on his back nine to take the lead after his second round of the RBC Heritage on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada serves to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Dalton Kellett pulls out of the pits during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Dalton Kellett is pleased his second career season in IndyCar will be different than his first, which started on an elaborate iRacing rig in his home office in Indianapolis because of COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Darron Cummings
Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Head coach John Tait talks to his team as Canada takes on Japan in women's sevens rugby action at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Texas Rangers' Isiah Kiner-Falefa is safe as Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Cavan Biggio waits for the late throw on an attempted fielder's choice during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 5, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeffrey McWhorter
Names keep being added to Jays’ injury list as team fights to stay around .500 mark

Names keep being added to Jays’ injury list as team fights to stay around .500 mark

Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold poses for a photograph at her boxing club in Toronto on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold ‘heartbroken’ after Olympic qualifier scrapped

Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold ‘heartbroken’ after Olympic qualifier scrapped

Most Read