Crime rate in Red Deer down, but violent crimes up

A study of crime in Red Deer between 2004 and 2009 showed that while the actual number of crimes increased, especially violent crimes, the rate of crimes per 100,000, due to increased population, decreased.

But, the study noted, white collar and Internet crimes, like luring, are increasing while property crimes are decreasing.

The statistics were part of a report to City council Monday on the progress of the Red Deer Crime Prevention and Policing Review, done by Perivale + Taylor Consulting Ltd.

The report indicated there were 12,846 criminal code violations, including traffic violations in 2004 and 12,881 in 2009, a very slight increase. But when population growth of plus 18% is factored in, the rate per 100,000 went down over 19%.

Total violent crime went from 1,825 incidents in 2004 to 2,171 in 2009, but the rate per 100,000 decreased 4.71%.

The study compared Red Deer to other municipalities in Alberta and outside the province and noted that in Red Deer crime rates and the pattern of these rates over time, “Are for the most part, in keeping with crime rates and patterns in other communities.”

Councillor Buck Buchanan, a former RCMP constable, said he would question some facets of the report, including its use of statistics.

“This is interesting, but I don’t think it tells us a lot. I’m looking forward to parts two and three of the study (planned for June). The outcome remains to be seen.”

One of the authors of the report, Keith Taylor, a Vancouver consultant with Perivale + Taylor, raised the issue of “citizenization” of crime prevention. He said it would involve everyday citizens in reporting and preventing crime, noting that “crime is everyone’s business, it is not just the policeman’s role.

“The ultimate objective (of our study) is to provide recommendations to council regarding a comprehensive approach to policing.”

Colleen Jensen, Red Deer’s director of community services, said, “Part one of the review focussed on collecting data about crime in the community and part two of the review will focus on consulting with residents to identify solutions and strengthen crime prevention programs already in place.”

The consultants will be seeking more public input for the final report, including a telephone survey and a web survey available on the City’s web site.