Rural Crime: Member’s Statement November 20,2018

On November 20th I followed up on a question I asked  the  Minister of Justice  on our government’s  rural crime strategy this spring  (you can see that statement here).  Here I note the progress made to date and what more needs to be done:

 Last spring I rose in this House to speak on Alberta’s rural crime reduction plan. Rural property crime was spiking, and action needed to be taken, so our government listened to the needs of Albertans and in concert with the RCMP came up with a plan. That plan has already reduced rural property crime by 11 per cent. By expanding rural crime reduction units across Alberta, adding Crown prosecutors, adding crime mapping experts, and providing more civilian support, the new tactics are already starting to make a difference. Our investments are working.

I have seen this first-hand in my own constituency of Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater. For example, not long ago break-ins were spiraling out of control in Calling Lake. Residents told me heartbreaking stories of having possessions stolen and having their privacy violated. However, a crime reduction unit was able to come to Calling Lake, and in close co-operation with Athabasca RCMP and the local community break-ins have been dramatically reduced.

It’s not just my constituency where the strategy is working. The RCMP has attributed the reduction of crime across the province to the strategy. But we know that not every community has seen these reductions yet, and that’s why we will keep fighting to make sure that they do.

When the Alberta crime reduction plan was voted on in the spring, I was amazed to see the UCP oppose it. This issue was more important than what side of the House we sit on. It is about making life safer for Albertans. I am grateful for the Minister of Justice’s work and to be part of a government committed to reducing rural crime.

But there is still much work that needs to be done. We will continue to listen to Albertans, work with law enforcement and with our local community partners, and continue with the strategy that has been proven to work to ensure that Albertans are safer (Source)

Town & Country – July 10, 2018 – UCP release rural crime report

http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&pubid=47386dcd-9f92-4112-a0c2-8d09c4a539a0

“[Colin Piquette] Our priority is to employ the tools that are actually within our power and within our jurisdiction, that’s something that I think is going to pay greater dividends on a provincial side.”

As part of the 2018 budget, the NDP increased funding for the justice ministry by $10 million to hire 59 extra RCMP officers and 20 Crown prosecutors, 10 of which are specifically dedicated to rural cases.

The government also plans for four additional judges to oversee cases, 55 more court clerks to work through the backlog, 40 new civilians to help police officers with their paperwork and 13 bail clerks to get bail hearings through the system faster. The funding also included $7.9 million to expand Legal Aid services.

“The resource allocations were developed in close consultation with the RCMP and I think we’re getting a big bang for our buck in results.” said Piquette. “Instead of using rural crime as a political talking point and a recruitment method, we’d rather actually take concrete steps improve the situation. Anyone who thinks it’s just a matter of throwing money at a problems has not really taken a look at what we’re doing.”