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Crime in Olds and area falls to lowest rate in at least five years

Crime rate could be the lowest in six or seven years, RCMP Staff Sgt. says
MVT Olds RCMP sign
Property crime in Olds is at its lowest rate in more than five years and is likely close to the lowest it’s been in six or seven years, Staff Sgt. Jim MacDonald says. File photo/MVP Staff

OLDS — Property crime in Olds is at its lowest rate in more than five years and is likely close to the lowest it’s been in six or seven years, Staff Sgt. Jim MacDonald says.

He says property crime in rural Olds is also at its lowest rate in more than five years, down 48 per cent in the second quarter.

MacDonald made those statements during a presentation at Olds council’s policies and priorities meeting Sept. 8.

Total property crime fell 20 per cent from 281 incidents during the first six months of 2019 to 225 during that same period this year.

A total of 93 incidents were recorded during the second quarter this year (April 1 to June 30), down 35 per cent from the second quarter last year when 144 were recorded.

MacDonald described the drop as “great to see.”

He told councillors he believes the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was likely a reason for much of that drop in crime because more people were at home to watch over their property and others'.

Also, a small number of people who were responsible for much of the recent crime in the community have been arrested and several are now behind bars.

However, not all categories saw a decrease.

Break and enters during the first six months of the year rose 120 per cent, from 10 last year to 22 this year.

Five were recorded during the second quarter this year, up from two during that same time period in 2019.

During the first six months of the year vehicle thefts fell 20 per cent to 24 from 30.

From April through June they dropped to eight from 13 during the same period in 2019.

During the first six months of the year, theft of items valued at more than $5,000 dropped to two from six in 2019. During the second quarter they slid from four last year to two this year.

So far this year, 64 incidents of theft of items worth less than $5,000 have been recorded, down from 86 during the first six months of 2019.

During the second quarter alone, 24 such thefts were recorded, compared to 54 from April through June of 2019.

Another increase occurred in the fraud category.

From January through June this year, 33 incidents of fraud were reported, up three from the same period a year ago.

During the second quarter of the year 21 incidents of fraud were reported, up from 14 during the same period in 2019.

Six cases of arson were reported from January through June this year compared to none for the same period last year.

Only two were recorded during the second quarter of 2020. None were reported during the second quarter of 2019.

MacDonald believes the two arsons reported during the second quarter this year may be related to some that occurred around Christmas last year.

He believes they were not reported until homeowners discovered them.

Persons crimes

Total persons crimes this quarter dropped to 22 incidents from 35 during the same period last year, a 37 per cent decrease.

No homicides were recorded during the first six months of this year or last year. “That’s not a statistic that we see very often here in Olds,” MacDonald said.

One robbery occurred during the second quarter and it was unique.

“That was the result of an incident that happened at McDonald’s, which was more or less a pseudo robbery, but it did meet the elements,” he said.

“A person called to the drive-thru window and surprised the staff and asked to take one of their cars and they said they didn’t have a car and he left.

“So not a successful robbery, but an attempted robbery nonetheless.”

During the first six months of the year, one sexual assault was reported compared to three during the same period last year.

One sexual offence was reported in the second quarter. None were reported during the same period last year.

MacDonald said sexual assaults or offences don’t happen often in Olds, but “any incident is too many.”

During the first six months of this year, 22 assaults had been reported, down one from the first six months of 2019.

Eight assaults were reported during the second quarter, down 38 per cent from the second quarter of 2019 when 13 were reported.

As of June 30, the Olds RCMP detachment had only received nine reports of harassment, down 44 per cent from the first six months of 2019 when 16 were received.

The detachment received four complaints of harassment during the second quarter of the year, down from nine during the same period in 2019.

As of June 30, the detachment had received 12 reports of threats having been uttered, down 45 per cent from the same period last year when 22 had been reportedly uttered. 

During the second quarter of the year, six threats were reported, compared to 12 from April to June 2019.

MacDonald said harassment and threats are often related to incidents of domestic violence.

Drugs

A total of seven drug-related cases were reported from January through June this year, up from one during the same time period last year. Two of this year’s cases were reported during the second quarter.

“There’s drug activity in Olds as there is everywhere, but not over drug activity like you see in some of the larger centres or other communities that have stronger substance abuse problems,” MacDonald said. “It’s here, but we see it on certainly less of a scale.”

Vehicle collisions

Eighty-five vehicle collisions were reported during the first six months this year, down from 91 during the same period last year.

Twenty of those collisions were reported during the second quarter this year, compared to 38 from April through June of 2019.

No fatalities were reported from collisions during the first six months this year or last year.

However, 10 people were injured as a result of vehicle collisions from January through June this year compared to six for the same time period in 2019.

Two people were injured as a result of vehicle collisions that occurred from April through June this year. Three vehicle collision injuries occurred during the same period in 2019.

Other common police activities

Reports of suspicious persons and vehicles fell to 52 for the first six months of 2020 compared to 69 during the same period in 2019.

Twenty-five suspicious people and/or vehicles were recorded from April through June this year compared to 37 for the same period last year.

Thirty-eight reports of spousal abuse were received by the Olds detachment during the first six months of this year, down 22 per cent from the same period in 2019 when 49 were received.

Sixteen reports of spousal abuse were received during the second quarter this year, down 41 per cent from the same period in 2019 when 27 were received.

“Although we initially saw an uptick right at the beginning when the pandemic started, it levelled off and actually decreased here in town where spousal abuse and domestic violence-related calls actually dropped,” MacDonald said.





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