In the rural community of Innisfail, Alberta, RCMP are reporting a dramatic drop in crime, giving hope to local residents who have had to suffer from frequent burglaries and other incidents common in remote communities.
According to the latest data reported by Mountain View Today news, crime rates are down across the board when compared to the same time last year.
Innisfail RCMP Staff Sgt. Chris Matechuk reported to the town council that assaults, robberies, homicides and sexual assaults were down 43% in the area. Meanwhile, property crimes like break and enters, vehicle theft and fraud have also decreased by 63% since 2020.
“Property crimes in Alberta have seen a downward trend but ours were extremely and considerably higher than the average. It is the totality of everybody, working with the town and the community police officers and working with the (local) community,” said Matechuk.
According to Matechuk, police presence and visibility has played a contributing role to the lowered crime rates.
“We just have to continue what we are doing. We’ve got a lot of feedback from the community saying that they see us around a lot more, and visibility is huge. It is a big deterrent,” Matechuk told Mountain View Today.
“We just want to maintain these reductions. It is difficult to do and we will just continue to do what we are doing and try to keep our visibility maintained with the community.”
Other communities, including Strathcona County, have also reported some promising reductions in rural crime rates as a result of proactive police patrols.
Local Conservative Party candidate for Red Deer–Mountain View, Earl Dreeshen, seconded a private members bill while in the House of Commons earlier this year as a step towards addressing rural crime federally.
The bill, C-458, would amend the Criminal Code so judges can consider the fact that a perpetrator specifically targeted a victim because of their remote location when sentencing a criminal.