Strathmore RCMP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Mark Wielgosz presented a crime report at last Wednesday's Town Council. There is plenty to unpack from the report, but one of the consistent messages throughout the presentation was that any upticks we see in crime are still within the historic rates. Wielgosz explained there's been a steady decline in crime for the last four years, and while an increase in crime is obviously not ideal, there's no need to panic.
"Obviously we're aiming for as low as possible, but we do see some upticks, may see some increases from our numbers last year. But I want to be able to demonstrate to council and the public that we're within the (historic) range, and obviously we're trying to make sure that those numbers are as low as possible," Wielgosz said.
The RCMP are constantly working on reducing crime and being proactive, and one of the big ways they do is by addressing property crime. Wielgosz said the RCMP monitored 13 habitual offenders this quarter, and documented 94 offender checks to ensure compliance with release conditions.
While monitoring habitual offenders helps lower crime, the RCMP is looking towards the way we design houses as a way to lower crime in the future. Wielgosz explained the RCMP is working with the town and developers to offer suggestions on how housing designs could make for a safer community.
"Even at an early stage in the design phase is where we can offer our opinions on how to change layouts of properties, how to perhaps add certain features to certain developments that would help us minimize potential areas of concern. That might be as simple as lighting, shrubbery or or keeping certain areas open and visible from the roadway. That would again minimize attractiveness of certain crimes being committed in certain areas."
As for the quarterly report, when comparing this quarter with last year's quarter, breaking and entering rose to 11 from 3, Theft of motor vehicles (MV) rose to 7 from 4, and theft from MVs rose to 20 from 5.
Wielgosz explained the breaking and entering rise is due to two crime series with two offenders who were responsible for six break-ins. Theft of motor vehicles saw a slight increase but is still below the historical average. Theft from motor vehicles saw a big jump, which is due in part to crimes of opportunity and the re-emergence of catalytic converter thefts.
One difficult aspect of catching these criminals is the fact that habitual offenders often aren't from Strathmore, but from surrounding areas.
"Habitual offenders that operate within the broader area around the city of Calgary and in our general region. They do pass through our rural areas. They do come through the town of Strathmore. While we do have area offenders that are difficult to track, they don't live here typically and sometimes it makes it a little bit harder for us to monitor."
Programs like the Habitual Offender Management Program are in place to help the RCMP catch these criminals, and the Strathmore detachments works with other detachments to track these repeat offenders down.
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