DIDSBURY - Combating major property crimes should be the number one priority for RCMP officers working in Didsbury, Carstairs and Mountain View County, according to an online survey recently conducted by Didsbury RCMP in conjunction with area municipalities.
The survey asked residents to identify their top three choices when it comes to policing priorities. The options included community engagement, crimes against persons, fraud, impaired driving, illegal drug-related offences, major property crime, minor property crime, traffic enforcement and youth engagement.
In all, 294 people responded to the survey, which was posted on the Town of Didsbury, Town of Carstairs and Mountain View County websites.
Of the Carstairs respondents, 65 per cent put major property crimes as their number 1 priority choice. Those crimes include break and enters, thefts of motor vehicle, and thefts over $5,000.
Those respondents rated community engagement as their second priority choice, which includes community crime prevention and crime watch groups, and foot and bike patrols.
They rated minor property crimes as their third priority choice, which includes vandalism and theft under $5,000.
Of the Didsbury respondents, 73 per cent picked major property crimes as their first priority choice.
They rated crimes against persons as their second priority choice, which includes assaults, threats and family violence.
They rated illegal drug-related offences as their third priority choice.
Sixty-seven per cent of Mountain View County respondents rated major property crimes as their first choice priority, followed by minor property crimes and crimes against persons.
Respondents were also asked if they found local RCMP detachment personnel approachable and accessible. In all three communities, the majority of respondents indicated good to excellent.
Respondents were also asked if they believe the RCMP detachment is providing service that meets the community needs. In all three communities, the majority of respondents rated the service as good to excellent.
Respondents were asked to provide written comments at the end of the survey. Those remarks are not being made public, said Didsbury RCMP Staff Sgt. Chad Fournier.
The survey result finding that combating major property crimes is the highest priority choice for respondents was not unexpected, he said.
The RCMP will not be making major changes as a result of the survey results, he said, noting police are already making the targetting of property and person crimes top priorities.
There has been a significant drop in the amount of property crime in recent years in all municipalities in the Didsbury detachment area, he noted.
“We are going to continue doing what we are doing, focusing on our prolific offenders and drug crime, which has a huge impact on the property crime,” he said.
“Crimes against persons are still the most important aspect of policing. We want to make sure everyone is safe in the towns and communities.”
Fournier thanked all the survey respondents for their participation.
“We appreciate everybody who took time to respond to the surveys and provide their input,” he said.