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Scammers remain active, council told

Delegation of RCMP officers provides statistics
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MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – Council has been given an update on recent activities of the Olds, Didsbury and Sundre RCMP detachments.

The review came during a recent council meeting, which was held by teleconference.

Olds RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim MacDonald, Didsbury RCMP Staff Sgt. Chad Fournier, and Sundre RCMP Sgt. Jody Achtymichuk appeared as a delegation, with MacDonald presenting recent crime statistics from all three detachments’ rural areas.

There were 27 reported persons crimes in the Olds detachment's area in 2019, up from 22 in 2018 and 18 in 2017. There were 12 assaults reported, five criminal harassment, and five uttering threats.

In the Didsbury detachment's region, there were 43 total persons crimes, compared with 59 in 2018 and 38 in 2017. There were 24 assaults reported, seven criminal harassments, and 10 uttering threats.

In the Sundre detachment's jurisdiction, there were 60 total persons crime reported, up from 47 in 2018 and 43 in 2017. There were 36 assaults reported, seven criminal harassments and 13 uttering threats.

Regarding property crimes, there were 177 reported by the Olds detachment, compared with 144 in 2018 and 255 in 2017. There were 30 reported break and enters, 19 thefts of motor vehicles, six thefts over $5,000, 42 thefts under $5,000, 26 possession of stolen property, 13 frauds, and 41 mischief properties.

In the Didsbury detachment area, there were 294 total property crimes reported, compared with 368 in 2018 and 645 in 2017. There were 43 break and enters, 25 thefts of motor vehicles, 13 thefts over $5,000, 84 thefts under $5,000, 30 possession of stolen property, 26 frauds, two arsons, and 71 mischief to property.

In the Sundre detachment's region, there were 228 total property crimes reported, compared with 198 in 2018 and 298 in 2017. There were 46 break and enters, 19 thefts of motor vehicles, five thefts over $5,000, 75 thefts under $5,000, 17 possession of stolen goods, 27 frauds, and 39 mischief to property.

Internet and cellphone scams also continue to occur in the region, said MacDonald.

“There are still a lot of people who are victimized,” said MacDonald. “The scammers are pretty slick and they are pretty convincing sometimes. They are crafty and sometimes they are able to victimize people.”

Regarding mischief to property crimes in the area, he said, “A good portion of the number of calls that we do receive are in relation to people who are skulking around people’s properties, looking in windows, and they're up to no good in a criminal matter.”

In all three detachments' areas, there were 63 false alarms, 322 suspicious person/vehicles/property calls, 54 Mental Health Act calls, and 11 missing person calls. Additionally, there were 65 injury motor vehicle collisions as well as 620 property damage motor vehicle collisions.

A former police officer, Coun. Greg Harris asked whether police are seeing evidence of “groups that are coming and going and creating the rises and drops” in property crime.

Police crime reduction units continue to work with local detachments to target prolific offenders, said MacDonald.

“A lot of the crime in our area is transient crime,” he said, noting Red Deer and Calgary criminals continue to come to the region to commit crimes.

“You see a lot of crime trickle north and south from those areas,” he said. “We’ve executed a lot of search warrants on the prolific offenders and we’ve laid quite a few charges.”

MacDonald said many of the vehicles being stolen in the region are taken for the purpose of “going on criminal shopping sprees. They use them as conveyances to commit further criminal offence such as thefts or break and enters. Most of them are stolen for a purpose.”

Sundre RCMP Sgt. Achtymichuk said police continue to work with area oil and gas companies to address oilfield theft concerns.

Didsbury Staff Sgt. Fournier said the detachment’s community-driven police advisory committee continues to be valuable.

“I’m definitely a strong advocate of the committee,” said Fournier.

All three detachments are working on crime reduction strategies and increased police viability in the community, said MacDonald.

Both Reeve Bruce Beattie and Deputy Reeve Angela Aalbers commended area RCMP officers for their efforts.

“We wish you all the best going forward,” said Aalbers. “We, as a council and all our residents, appreciate everything you do for us.”

Council accepted the RCMP delegation report as information.