RCMP initiative aims to see more criminals behind bars

Area police detachments are working together to combat crime in Central Alberta.

Area police detachments are working together to combat crime in Central Alberta.

Red Deer RCMP Supt. Scott Tod said neighbouring municipalities are taking a regional collaborative approach to address property crime in the Central Alberta district. The detachments included in this initiative include Red Deer, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake and Innisfail. The invitation has also been extended to Lacombe Municipal Police Department to join as well, Tod said.

“Historically in the RCMP, because we are all part of the same organization, we take advantage of that and we do collaborate when we see trends,” said Tod. “This is in keeping with ‘K’ Divison’s emphasis on crime reduction strategies and this initiative supports that priority on part of ‘K’ Division. All municipalities will have a crime reduction strategy in place – this is our approach to that.

“We have brought other members in from other detachments – they have collaborated and formed a team basically with our members. They will be going out to wherever the intelligence leads them or the target leads them to do the enforcement.”

The focus of the initiative is property crime, which has been on the rise in the region as of late.

“While it’s focused on property crime, the people involved in property crime are also involved in drugs and other criminal activity,” said Tod. “It does lead into other criminal investigations as well.

“The focus is on property crime because there has been such an increase in the entire district over the last few years and in particular this year.”

Tod added the rise in property crime is related to the demand for drugs in the area. As for the collaboration between detachments, Tod said it is a win-win.

“Because we have considerably more resources than our neighbouring detachments, we have the ability to check on offenders to make sure they are abiding by their conditions, they are at home when they are supposed to be at home – and when we apply that kind of pressure of course we force them out of the City and they move into the neighbouring municipalities where they continue to commit crime.

“The smaller detachments don’t have the resources that we do. We tend to displace the criminals but they tend to continue to commit crime in their new location but also continue to come into Red Deer, do their crime and then go back out,” he said.

“Red Deer has contributed a significant amount of resources to (combating property crime) where smaller detachments are limited in how many resources they can supply.

“But they are being affected as much as we are relative to their side.

“With this initiative we bring everyone together with the sharing of intelligence and it’s probably more seamless and more timely and allows us to be more focused in targeting these people.”

Tod said the goal of the initiative is to put more criminals in jail and to reduce the number of property crimes that citizens are being victimized by.

Meanwhile, Tod said although he has only been here for a short time he sees that crime is an issue in the City. “I think it’s important to recognize the positive things about Red Deer. But being that attractive and because of the location, the disposable income and the strong economy, it also brings the unattractive elements of society too.”

In addition, RCMP continues to warn residents about the dangers of leaving their vehicles running unattended.

“It is a preventable offence so we need to continue to get that message out,” he said.

“If citizens would not leave their vehicles running and unattended there would be a considerable decrease in the theft of vehicles.”

He added these types of instances are easy targets for criminals.

“It takes 30 seconds for them to steal your car if it’s left running and unattended and criminals are watching for that,” he explained.

“It gives them wheels now to go out and commit other crimes a lot faster, then dump that vehicle in another jurisdiction after committing a crime.”

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com