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Liaison details RCMP's crime reduction efforts in rural area

Creation of a dedicated crime reduction unit was needed because prolific offenders are hard to track due to the number of RCMP detachments that are geographically accessible within a short travel period

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY -  An RCMP crime reduction official has updated council on current initiatives in rural Alberta and measures being made to involve residents in the addressing and reporting of offences.

Carolyn McTighe, crime prevention liaison for the RCMP’s Southern Alberta District, appeared as a delegation before council at its recent regularly scheduled meeting. There are four dedicated crime prevention liaisons in the province.

She spoke about the RCMP’s K Division Crime Reduction Strategy, which is designed to “reduce crime in Alberta through the creation and implementation of an evidence- and intelligence-led, provincewide strategy. This crime reduction strategy will become entrenched as the basis of how police service delivery is done in Alberta.”

The strategy targets prolific offenders, targets crime ‘hot spots,' identifies and addresses root causes of crime, engages with the community to help deter and reduce local crime trends and reduce recurring incidents of person and property crime, she said. 

“The hope here is that by focusing on those issues we are going to be able to see an overall decrease in personal and property-based offences,” said McTighe. “The overall sentiment here is to go beyond enforcement rather than being reactionary. We want to move it into a more proactive approach to policing.

The creation of a dedicated crime reduction unit under the strategy was needed because prolific offenders are hard to track due to the number of RCMP detachments that are geographically accessible within a short travel period, she said.

Objectives of the community safety and well-being unit formed under the strategy include disruption of prolific offender activity, decreasing property crimes through targeted enforcement, and providing sustainable enforcement under to support RCMP offender management strategies, she said.

The ongoing integrated offender management program created in 2013 focuses primarily on targeting priority prolific offenders.

“Our aim is to try to break their cycle of offence,” she said. “There is a need to address them and break that cycle. We are seeing some really good traction with this program.

“We want to deliver local response to local problems. We want to focus on the issues in the community rather than just doing a blanket reform for all the communities in the province.”

The district crime preventions liaisons under the strategy aim to develop, foster and maintain partnerships with citizen led groups such as Rural Crime Watch, Citizens on Patrol, and Crime Stoppers, she said.

“Our main goal in this unit is community engagement and to work collaboratively with our communities and our detachments,” she said. 

Project Lock Up is an initiative involving those citizen-led groups with aims include enhanced victim support, providing additional tools and resources for repeat victims, and undertaking enhanced investigative response, she said.

The RCMP has created a specialized Call Back Unit for the handling of non-emergency calls, letting victims report crimes, which are then fully investigated but not sent to general duty officers, who are able to focus on high priority emergency calls, she said.

Council accepted McTighe’s report as information.

Dan Singleton

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