RCMP mapping targets local crime

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Property crime reported in parts of the region served by the High Prairie RCMP will soon be posted on the Big Lakes County website.

At its regular meeting Oct. 24, county council approved an RCMP request to authorize the Alberta RCMP Public Facing Crime Mapping Project on the county’s website along with a link to CrimeStoppers and phone numbers to report criminal and suspicious activity.

“It will identify areas where crime is occurring,” Reeve Richard Simard says.

“We encourage people to report crime in an effort to reduce crime and make our community safer.”

Mapping plots crimes of only theft from motor vehicle, theft of motor vehicle, theft over and under $5,000, break and enter, mischief and missing persons, High Prairie RCMP S/Sgt. Warren Wright explains while promoting the benefits in a letter to council.

Plotted addresses will not be exact, but rather by a nearby intersection, road or street.

“Initiatives such as this go a long way to create safe and resilient communities,” Wright says.

Information is updated daily Monday to Friday.

He expects the county link will soon be connected and adds the local mapping program has already started.

“Crime mapping is an innovate tool by which the Alberta RCMP is tracking the few offenders who commit the most crimes,” acting CAO Jordan Panasiuk writes in a report to council.

“The Alberta RCMP has been piloting crime mapping in the St. Albert detachment since the beginning of 2018 and the technology has been working properly and they are now ready to roll out the project province-wide.”

However, local mapping will cover only the area served by High Prairie RCMP, Wright says as he spoke with South Peace News.

The program and detachment includes High Prairie, the western part of Big Lakes County, Enilda, Grouard, Prairie Echo and Salt Prairie, Atikameg and Whitefish Lake First Nation, Gift Lake Metis Settlement and East Prairie Metis Settlement.

However, it does not include Faust RCMP, which serves Faust, Kinuso and Joussard.

Lakeshore Regional Police Service is not part of the program and covers the local Indigenous communities of Driftpile Cree Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation, Kapawe’no First Nation and Swan River First Nation.

“The project allows the RCMP to continue to increase inter-agency communication and share criminal intelligence with its partners,” Wright says.

“It also encourages citizens to participate in crime-prevention strategies, such as reporting suspicious persons or activity, in an effort to be the extra set of eyes and ears for police in the community.”

Other key points include:

-Emergency situation flags would be used in emergency incidents and for very short periods such as a school lockdown, unfolding dangerous situation, evacuation or train derailment.
-Entries are templated and only certain information can be entered such as a file number and date.
-Entries are automatically removed after 14 days.
-Local RCMP news releases will also be posted.

The RCMP is asking municipalities that have a website and the ability to host the public facing web application.

Mapping is one tool as part of a priority to reduce rural crime announced March 9 by the provincial government.

The RCMP is working with Alberta Justice and Solicitor General and other partners to explore new ways of using technology to target rural crime.


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