A re-elected United Conservative Party government would implement a comprehensive public safety plan to tackle rising criminal activity.
UCP leader Danielle Smith said perpetrators of violent crimes are often out on bail.
While the UCP stands with its provincial partners in demanding the federal government end the system of catch-and-release plaguing communities, Smith said she won’t wait on Ottawa.
“We will take action to ensure Albertans feel safe again and we will do whatever it takes to ensure they do so,” she said from Edmonton on Tuesday.
Under the Safe Streets Action Plan, a re-elected Smith government would implement bracelet monitoring of dangerous offenders out on bail and deploy sheriffs to monitor them. They would add 100 more patrol officers on city streets, continue to deploy sheriffs alongside Calgary and Edmonton police officers to address public disorder, create new anti-fentanyl and illegal-gun trafficking teams, and increase funding for internet child exploitation and gang suppression units.
The government would also make it easier for parents to know the whereabouts of violent and sexual offenders, and make investments in womens’ shelters and sexual assault counselling.
In the last two years, 26 homicides in Edmonton were committed by criminals out on bail.
Both Edmonton and Calgary have been hit by a crime wave. Overall criminal occurrences at LRT stations in Calgary increased 46% between 2021 and 2022.
The numbers are even worse in Edmonton, where LRT and transit centres experienced a 75% increase in violent criminal incidents between July 2022 and January 2023.
Calgary West UCP candidate Mike Ellis said “we’re putting criminals on notice.” The UCP is the only party with a credible plan that places families at the centre of safety, he said.
“Albertans are no longer going to tolerate being harassed or frightened or victimized,” he said.
“You have a right to live in your community, free of violence and social disorder. You have a right to take transit to school, or work.”
Ellis, a former police officer, said soft-on-crime activists tell Albertans to make a choice between compassion and addressing public safety.
“As I have told those I’ve engaged with as a public safety minister from Edmonton’s Chinatown to families down in Lethbridge, you do not have to choose one over the other,” he said.
Holly Mah, a representative of the Chinatown and Area Business Improvement Association, said Chinatown is suffering under unprecedented safety issues.
“You are witnessing the demise of a Chinatown that wants to survive,” she said.
“I’m here because I love my community and we want to see the suffering on our streets come to an end. We need help. We need action.”
In an announcement last month, Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley promised to hire 150 more police officers and pair them with the hiring of 150 social workers, mental health workers, addictions counsellors and more. The announcement came even as several NDP candidates have a lengthy history of espousing defund the police rhetoric.