Don’t ignore crime stats

In reviewing crime statistics for the City of Red Deer, I have come away with a disturbing feeling regarding how our tax dollars are being spent in our city’s budget. Specifically in regards to the cost of policing in our city.

In reviewing crime statistics for the City of Red Deer, I have come away with a disturbing feeling regarding how our tax dollars are being spent in our city’s budget. Specifically in regards to the cost of policing in our city.

First consider some 2009 Vital Signs statistics regarding crime and our police force: Property crime nearly double the national average, violent crime 78 per cent higher than the national average, motor vehicle thefts 83 per cent higher than the national average, number of officers 38 per cent lower then the national average, and traffic code violations 73 per cent higher than the national average.

In other words, our police force is used more for income generating traffic violations per capita than “real” crime. Not to say that excessive speed and DUI is not real crime (it is in my opinion) but vehicle theft, violent crime and property crime are out of control in our great city of Red Deer.

Our mayor is making light of the fact that Maclean’s has ranked Red Deer as the fourth worst city in Canada for crime rate, listing it as over 71 per cent higher than the national average for overall crime.

Instead of “taking it with a grain of salt,” he should be ashamed of this statistic. Perhaps he should have our police force concentrate more on making our beautiful city a safer place to live in and fight “real” crime.

Granted this may cost each citizen of Red Deer more in the way of taxes, as there will be some loss of income through generating traffic code violations, but I believe the vast majority would prefer a safer place to live in, even if it were to cost a bit more to accomplish this.

Many cities in North America are finding ways to use their police forces more efficiently. Maybe we can learn from their experience.

Let us find ways to use our police force more efficiently or charge us a bit more, but make our city a safer place to live for everyone.

Dave Langbroek

Red Deer