Crime prevention strategy plans reviewed

The Crime Prevention and Policing Study/Strategy and Policing Model Review’s Final Report was presented to City council for approval at this week’s meeting.

The review involved the public in many ways. Information was gathered through interviews with community organizations, agencies and individuals, focus groups, a web site survey, print survey, telephone survey and a public forum.

“If we were what we wanted to be as a perfect community, what would that look like? We tried to build the recommendations around that,” said Colleen Jensen, community services director.

A steering committee was established in March of 2010 to guide the process. In August of 2010, perivale + taylor Consulting Ltd. was chosen to begin the process of gathering data for the review.

Peter Copple, with perivale + taylor, presented the final draft of the report and said the goal was inclusivity and having a wide variety of opinions and ideas brought forward.

“Red Deerians do feel that the City is safe and that the neighbourhoods are safe but there is some anxiety about the downtown core at night,” said Copple as part of the information that was gathered.

Twenty-two issues were expressed in the report regarding policing issues that face Red Deer so that an appropriate style of enforcement could be selected. The two that were being chosen between were the RCMP detachment and a City police department.

“The RCMP detachment has seamless support and administrative functions, but a police department provides greater local direction and permanence of staff,” said Copple.

Copple’s recommendation is for the continuation of the RCMP detachment in Red Deer. He also suggested that in order to further the connection between police and community, an insignia or badge be worn for the City of Red Deer.

Copple said that there are other initiatives that have been recommended which would allow the numbers of officers to stay the same, but that would allow each officer to take on more individual cases.

One of these initiatives is for non-emergent incidences where people could report through the Internet, a call centre or even texting.

“If you use an alternative method of reporting you do not send an officer out. If you saved 1,500 hours that is almost one full-time equivalent at the end of the year,” said Copple.

The report was approved by council and will be referred to the Crime Prevention Advisory Committee for comment to be brought back to council in September.