Rural areas in Alberta saw a significantly reduced amount of crime in 2020, Alberta RCMP figures show.
According to recent data, Alberta saw a 17% drop in break-and-enters in 2020 when compared to the year prior. Meanwhile, vehicle theft has also dropped 19% over this period.
In total, 2020 saw 21,285 fewer criminal code offences than in 2019. One of the reasons cited as being behind the drop was stay-at-home measures introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
RCMP media relations officer Fraser Logan indicated that rural crime fighting programs like Project Lockup and other initiatives are also having an impact on reducing incidents.
“Very simple things like cleaning up the yard, making sure doors are locked and not forgetting your keys in the car are initiatives that can reduce property crime,” said Logan in a press release on the matter.
“If you are working from home all day, there is no chance people will want to enter your home or your property looking for things to steal.”
In a response to the Alberta government’s recently released 2021-2022 budget, the National Police Federation noted that police officers have been able to achieve a 10% reduction in rural crime rates over the last three years.
Other initiatives introduced to combat rural crime include 24/7 foot patrols in communities hardest hit by theft, online reporting platforms and other measures.
Recently, Strathcona County RCMP highlighted the effectiveness of preventive patrols. To date, police in the area have conducted up to 18,497 patrol visits in both rural and urban areas.
“As a result of the proactive patrols, we’re seeing property crime come down in the rural area, which is a positive, and we’ve also seen it come down in the urban area and we’re getting the feedback that says it is positive and we’re doing something right,” said RCMP Superintendent Dave Kalist.
“As far as the stats go, I think we’re on track. Whenever you see crime going down, it is a good thing.”