A recent police survey has shown that only 66% of respondents feel that Red Deer is a safe place to live.
The Red Deer RCMP has identified five policing objectives for the year in consultation with the City of Red Deer, as part of an overall strategy to build a safer community. Earlier this week, the City and the RCMP presented the RCMP Annual Police Plan (APP).
“One of City council’s priorities is increasing safety in our community, and this plan is an essential part of it as it encompasses the four areas of the City’s Community Safety Model – prevention, intervention, education and enforcement,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We are pleased to see this plan roll out and witness the difference it is already making in our community.”
The plan outlines these five policing objectives for the time frame April 1st, 2015 to March 31st, 2016 and includes reducing the impact of organized crime, reducing crimes against persons, reducing property crime, contributing to safer youth, and contributing to safer roads. The objectives were developed to reflect Red Deer City council’s policing priorities and those of the RCMP.
“The APP identifies measurements of the five objectives, and the RCMP will report back to the City on a quarterly basis, outlining results from each of the objectives,” said Red Deer RCMP Supt. Scott Tod. “RCMP will also continue to communicate with the community regarding police successes, initiatives and public education pieces, as we know the community plays an important role in creating a safer community.”
The APP is reflective of both crime statistics and the perceptions of the crime survey conducted earlier this year. According to the 2014 crime statistics, the top three documented categories were property crimes, motor vehicle collisions, and crimes against persons.
In terms of combating organized crime, Tod said the RCMP has seen successes in doing so via the Regional Priority Crimes Task Force which consists of members from neighbouring municipalities.
“This work is in line with K-Divison’s crime reduction strategies. Since we implemented this task force we have had a number of successes including the most recent search warrant in Markerville. We have also had successes in Innisfail and Penhold with respect to stolen property, in Blackfalds with suspect to armed robberies and in Red Deer in relation to counterfeit currency,” he said. “We continue to target prolific offenders in these areas in terms of drug trafficking offenses.”
Tod added they will also closely monitor offenders to help reduce crime in the City.
“Through that we will be conducting random and unscheduled visits to ensure that identified high-risk domestic offenders and prolific offenders are complying with their court conditions. In the case of prolific offenders we are sending a strong message that we are watching to make sure they are complying with their conditions – there is also a deterrence measure in that if they are not complying they will be sent back before the courts,” said Tod. “In the case of high risk domestic offenders, we are sending the same strong message and we’re providing victims an increased sense of safety.”
He added the strategy to contribute to safer youth is a national priority with the RCMP. Tod said last year the RCMP in Red Deer dealt with 826 missing persons files.
“I added this into the objectives because of the number of high number of high-risk and chronically missing youth we have in our community,” said Tod. “This work will be done through our Community Response Unit and our Community Response Teams. The objective is to build relationships with identified youth. This is about keeping our youth safe. These are not individuals who are safe on the streets. Our concern is not if something bad might happen, but when something bad might happen.”
Meanwhile, a number of citizens were asked various questions about crime and safety in the community via a perceptions crime survey. The last survey was conducted in 2011.
The majority of respondents said that property crime is at the top of their list with the use and sale of drugs coming in second. As well, 78% of respondents are most concerned about theft, house break ins/break and enters, property damage and property crime in their neighbourhoods and 32% of those surveyed would like an increase in visibility and police patrolling in their neighbourhoods.