Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins holds up Toward a Safer Alberta: Addressing Rural Crime, which contains the results of the research conducted by the rural crime task force composed of MPs in rural ridings in Alberta. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Rural crime task force results released at Agri-Trade luncheon

Report cites problems with police not being able to keep up with crime and justice system issues

Results of the rural crime task force created by MPs who represent rural ridings in Alberta was released at a Rural Crime symposium in Red Deer on Friday.

The final report, called Toward a Safer Alberta: Addressing Rural Crime, found that Albertans are increasingly troubled about their safety with the increase in crime and felt emphasis should be placed on preventing crime, improving the criminal justice system and creating targeted reforms to address the problem, the report reads.

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins made the presentation at the symposium held during Agri-Trade that focused on creating strategies to deal with the problem of rising crime in rural Alberta. He was also joined by Yellowhead MP Jim Eglinski.

In particular, Calkins said the task force learned that RCMP operating in rural areas have trouble keeping up as crime increases. There are not enough police to cover the large rural areas, he said, and residents are frustrated.

“When you take a look at the number of police officers per square kilometre like the Rocky Mountain House Detachment for example, it has 9,600 square kilometres to cover with a handful of RCMP officers,” he said. “It’s almost an impossible task.”

He said the issue is also with the criminal justice system being too easy on convicted criminals.

“I’m of the opinion, and I think a lot of people that I represent are of the opinion, that our criminal justice system is a revolving door and the catch and release system is actually part of the problem,” he said.

He said police do their job of tracking people who commit crimes down and getting them before courts, but these criminals end up getting released and reoffend.

Another issue Calkins raised was that rural Alberta residents are no longer reporting crimes because it is constantly recurring.

He said this leads to incorrect information being collected and a lack of real knowledge about the crime problem.

“The problem might actually be worse than we think it is,” he said. “Policymakers rely on accurate data so I would always encourage people to report their crimes.”

Results of the task force led to Motion 167, a federal motion to address rural crime getting passed in parliament and the launch of a parliamentary study on rural crime, Calkins said.

Charlene Thomas from Red Deer County attended the luncheon. She said she was glad to hear of the initiative and that there, “Might be some bite behind laws to prevent individuals from carrying out crimes.”

Pat Siebold from Clearwater County said she wanted to find out what solutions were in the works.

“What really came out today was that the police cannot keep up with the crime and that we need to make it a community endeavour,” she said. “I think most farmers are very good about checking in with each other, and we maybe need to ramp that up and start reporting any kind of suspicious behaviour or unknown vehicles.”

Just Posted

Rollovers near Ponoka keep crews busy

Wintry road conditions proved a struggle for motorists on the QE2 highway with several incidents

Plane crash-lands near Ponoka

The airplane had its tail ripped off and it ended right side up in a copse of trees east of Ponoka

A hundred years after WWI ends, residents of Bashaw remember

Annual Remembrance Day ceremony focuses on Armistice

Naked man arrested for impaired driving

The man allegedly fled the scene of a collision wearing only a sheet. Plus other Ponoka RCMP briefs

Bashaw’s Stemo ready to make his name on the rodeo circuit

2012 CFR novice bareback champ demonstrates he still has what it takes to shine

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Castor, Forestburg, coal workers get $257,644 to transition to low-carbon economy

Two transition centres will serve seven communities in the Battler River Region

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Police probe several allegations of sex assault at Toronto school

Police say they have learned of other incidents of alleged assault and sexual assault

VIDEO: The definition of a kilogram has officially changed

50-plus countries voted to a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements

Missing-persons list tops 600 in fire-stricken California

Disaster escalates as officials raised the death toll to 63

Most Read