Strathmore RCMP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Mark Wielgosz presented the third quarterly police report detailing crime statistics, RCMP initiatives, and what the RCMP is prioritizing. The third quarter of the fiscal year is from October- December 2022, and Wielgosz outlined their three main priorities, being:
1. Property Crime
Reducing property crime remains one of the Strathmore RCMP's main priorities and one of the main ways this is done is through the Habitual Offender Management (HOM) program. This program is currently monitoring 15 offenders based on the following criteria:
- Volume of crime they commit.
- Seriousness of the crimes they commit.
- Likelihood of reoffending
- Impact of their crime on the community.
"Strategically, we know that a small percentage of the population commits the vast majority of our crimes, and those that we know of that have been active in criminal activity, particularly in the criteria that I outlined, we would pay attention to these individuals, and it's a matter that they're living a law-abiding lifestyle and not adversely impacting our residents in Strathmore and the surrounding areas," Wielgosz explained.
Of the 15 offenders, Wielgosz said the RCMP checked on them 86 times in the quarter, with 1 violation resulting in a charge.
Outside of the HOM program but in a similar vein, Strathmore RCMP partners with Calgary Police, the Federal Parole Board, Provincial Probation Officers, and RCMP intelligence units for the Persons of Interest program. This monitors people "involved in organized crime or at large on various types of release such as parole, probation, and interim release on open criminal matters. Persons are identified on the potential risk to the community, severity of offences they are accused of, or likelihood to reoffend," according to Wielgosz's written RCMP report.
"They know that we're aware that they're present in our community, and we offer them every opportunity to continue a law-abiding lifestyle," Wielgosz said.
As for the crime statistics:
Wielgosz noted crime is at or below historical averages, but there is a noticeable uptick in Theft of Motor Vehicles (MV), and a moderate increase in Theft From Motor Vehicle (MV).
"Eight out of eleven of those stolen vehicles, they were crimes of opportunity, (vehicles were) left running with the doors unlocked with the keys in there or left unlocked with keys in the vehicle. Eight out of eleven of those vehicles that were stolen were recovered and returned to their owners in quarter three."
Wielgosz briefly touched on operation cold start, which is an RCMP initiative to lower these crimes of opportunity and said we can expect more details and data about that in the fourth quarter report.
2. Traffic Safety
Traffic safety is another of the RCMP's main priorities and among other arrests and charges they had six Criminal Impaired Driving Charges and three Disqualified Drivers.
As part of their drunk driving prevention efforts, Wielgosz said his detachment had 20 documented bar walks in Strathmore establishments, which is meant to increase police visibility to encourage potential drunk drivers to find safe ways home instead. He noted there were most likely more than 20 bar walks done this quarter, but they just haven't been documented. Six documented check stops were also done, which resulted in 366 mandatory alcohol screenings and three IRS impaired suspensions.
Regarding collision statistics:
Wielgosz noted there was an increase in reportable collisions in the third quarter, as there were 41 this year compared to 27 last year. Injury collisions were around the same, with four this year compared to three last year. This increase doesn't necessarily mean that the roads are becoming less safe though, as Wielgosz explained this is more due to the fact that minor collisions like parking lot damage or unsafe backing are being reported more frequently.
"Reportable collisions have a threshold of $2000 of damage or more, and with vehicles and how they're constructed these days, it doesn't take much to cause $2000 worth of damage."
3. Community Engagement and Indigenous Community Engagement
Calling this "arguably one of our most important priorities," Wielgosz was happy with the RCMP's continued efforts to be involved with the community. Among other initiatives, this included:
- 14 school visits to interact with students and provide school talks.
- Visiting Sagewood Seniors' Home to do a presentation on safety and fraud.
- Conducting community walks throughout town on Halloween handing out treats to trick or treaters
- Attending the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Strathmore Legion.
Wielgosz was also excited to share that the RCMP is getting involved with a potential new community group in Kiwanis International.
"Our community liaison program remains active, in fact we've added one more community liaison group, that being the Kiwanis club that's recently formed with former councilor Bob Sobol reaching out to me, so we will have a liaison with them, and we'll be working together on a number of different youth involvement strategies they're looking to roll out over the next year."
The Strathmore branch of Kiwanis International is not yet official, as they need ten more members before they become an official club, but they've already been active in town with their initiatives in their efforts to help our community and recruit more members.
Wielgosz added the fourth quarter report could be coming soon, as the fourth quarter is from January-March 2023.
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