CARSTAIRS – Carstairs residents are encouraged contact police without delay if they witness suspicious activities in the municipality, Didsbury RCMP Staff Sgt. Chad Fournier told town council last week.
Appearing during the May 25 council meeting, Fournier said police continue to rely on public tips, particularly when it comes to property crimes.
“I would always encourage people in the public to call because they know their neighbourhoods,” said Fournier. “If there is a vehicle that is not supposed to be there, always, always call us.
“All that intelligence sharing counts. It’s a high priority to go to those calls. We try to make it a priority.”
Carstairs is part of the Didsbury RCMP detachment area, as is parts of Mountain View County and the town of Didsbury.
Fournier presented crime statistics, including for persons and property crimes.
There were a total of 45 persons crimes reported in 2019, up from 34 in 2018. Of those, 21 were for assaults, up from 13 in 2018.
There were 177 property crimes reported, up from 174 in 2018. Of those 40 were for theft under $5,000, down from 44 in 2018.
“Property crimes were very consistent with 2018 and thank goodness much lower than in 2017 (when there were 77 reported),” he said.
Regarding drug enforcement, he said, “The cannabis legislation has not been an issue. With spring here we might get a few calls of people smoking outside, but for all the attention that it got, it really is not an issue at this time.”
There were 23 reported calls related to the Mental Health Act in 2019, down from 24 in 2018.
There has been an increase in mental health calls in the detachment area in 2020, he said.
“There are a lot of people who simply don’t have the coping skills for the added stress that the isolation (due to COVID-19) has caused,” he said. “There are a lot of calls for a variety of mental health issues. It is part of society these days.
“Those calls can be very time consuming for us. If the person is unable to go with the ambulance to the hospital, quite often we are the ones taking them to the hospital in Calgary. So that is usually a two or three hour round trip at a minimum.”
Regarding joint force operations between RCMP and municipal peace officers in areas such traffic safety, he said, “From my three years here it has never been better. We do a lot of work with municipal enforcement now, but I’d like to see that increase even more, especially when it comes to presentations.”
Fournier said he would also like to see more bike patrols in the town this year.
Officers at the detachment have been working 12-hour shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“Things are looking good and you guys are doing a great job,” said mayor Lance Colby. “You’re dealing with everything as best you can. Thanks for what your members do for us.”
Council accepted Fournier’s report as information.