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Mental health calls up markedly in Mountain View County

82 mental health calls in the three detachments' rural areas in 2020 compared with 55 in 2019

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Mental health calls to police were up markedly in Mountain View County in 2020, councillors heard during the March 23 council meeting.

Didsbury RCMP Staff Sgt. Chad Fournier, acting Olds detachment commander Sgt. Jody Achtymichuk, and acting Sundre RCMP detachment commander Cpl. Resus Organ appeared before council.

There were a total of 82 mental health calls in the three detachments' rural areas in 2020, compared with 55 in 2019.

“I believe it has a lot to due with the pandemic,” said Fournier. “A lot of people had a tough time dealing with the isolation and dealing with the unknown and the fear around COVID and the loss of income and employment.

“A lot of people had a really tough time coping. Quite often we would get called in and we would work with the person.”

There were 18 person crimes in the Olds area, compared with 30 in 2019; there were 45 in Didsbury area, compared with 43 in 2019, and 74 in Sundre area, compared with 64 in 2019. 

There were 125 property crimes reported in the Olds rural area in 2020, compared with 191 in 2019 and 144 in 2018. 

Specifically there were 18 break and enters (compared with 31 in 2019 and  24 in 2018), 17 thefts of motor vehicles (20, 17), three theft over $5,000 (eight, five), 24 theft under $5,000 (48, 38), 27 possession of stolen goods (30, eight), 12 fraud (12, nine), one arson (zero, zero), and 23 mischief property (42, 49).

In the Didsbury rural area, there were 220 property crimes, compared with 294 in 2019 and 368 in 2018.

Specifically there were 26 break-in (43, 49), 23 thefts of motor vehicles (25, 28), three thefts over $5,000 (13, five), 50 thefts under $5,000 (84, 134), 20 possession stolen goods (30, 45), 27 frauds (26, 28), three arsons (two, one), and 68 mischief to property (71, 78).

There were 121 property crimes in the Sundre rural area, compared with 202 in 2019 and 128 in 2018.

Specifically there were 20 break and enters (46, 19), 10 theft motor vehicle (19, eight), nine theft under $5,000 (five, six), 22 theft over $5,000 (75, 56), 13 possession stolen property (17, 11), 20 frauds (27, 27), two arsons (zero, one), and 25 mischiefs to property (13, zero).

There were 10 drug offences reported in the Olds rural area, four in Didsbury rural area, and one in the Sundre rural area.

There is a direct link between property crimes and drugs, he said. 

“Most of our high risk offenders do have additional issues and mental health issues and they are breaking into places and stealing stuff that they can fence or pawn quickly and get cash so they can get those drugs that they require,” he said.

In all three detachment areas, there were 22 false alarms, 39 false/abandoned 911 calls, 330 suspicions person/vehicles/property calls, and nine persons reported missing calls.

There were no fatal motor vehicle collisions, 50 injury motor vehicle collisions, and 498 property damage motor vehicle collisions.

Citizens reporting crimes and suspicious activities remains very helpful to police, he said.

“They live in the area and they know when something is out of place,” he said. “We always encourage people to call us when they see something the is not right.”

Council accepted the RCMP delegation report as information.