By Justin Seward
Cypress County has been one of many areas rural areas around the province that has been hit with the double amount of rural crime calls recently and a serious situation that can not go unnoticed.
“You’ve got people who are living in the rural areas in Cypress County who are seeing a level of crime that they hadn’t previously seen,” said Redcliff RCMP Staff Sgt. Sean Maxwell.
“I think when you live somewhere and you haven’t seen a certain level of crime, it would take the residents of Cypress County by surprise to an extent.”
He said the all the police are telling residents to ensure they are trying their best to look out for each other with keeping their doors lock, if they have a security system to have it on and have their vehicles locked to harden themselves against crime.
The reason for the crime increase in the rural area has been because of the drug use and when the RCMP has taken a look at some of the users and how they receive the drugs and money is where the crime begins.
“If you take Cypress County just by size, your dealing with 13,000 sq. KM as opposed to a city which is much smaller,” said Maxwell.
“You have fewer people in the area and larger houses might exist on a larger spot of land. They might be farther away from their neighbours . In a way it is easier if you’re of a criminal mind to look on to a property and target.”
Maxwell also confirmed they have investigated break and enters in Elkwater , and not so much mischief but more so with thefts.
RCMP are continuing to attend Rural Crime Watch meetings, and communicating with the community association in Elkwater to help people become proactive.
Property crimes went from 57 from April 1-July 1 to 93 from July to September.
This is the main reason that the RCMP are talking to the Southeastern Alberta Rural Crime Watch because the people are looking out for one another and they are fulfilling their roles.
Southeast Alberta Rural Crime Watch president Shane Hok said that everyone is aware that crime is going up in the rural areas and the association is a way of getting more information out into the outlying areas and people are learning to protect themselves.
He added that the Fan Out program in the area will help with rural crime because the RCMP will send out an alert through a text message that will distributed to the association’s members as to what crime is taking place.
Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes was disappointed in the outcome of the emergency debate that was held in the legislature on Nov. 27 where the UCP asked the NDP to allocate resources to help in the battle against rural crime and were turned down in front of over 100 UCP supporters.
“What a shame that is because I here from constituents in Cypress-Medicine Hat almost daily about the fifth and sixth crime,” said Barnes.
“I hear from store owners who talk about the police not coming when there is a shop lifting incident because crown prosecutors are too overloaded to do anything. It’s an example of another broken system that the NDP government is refusing to fix.”
He added that the justice system is so backed up and how it takes two to three years to get in and to him it is an easy government fix.
“I would like to see inefficient tax dollars reallocated to make sure there is more crown prosecutors that are focused on rural Alberta to make sure there is more judge and court time outside of Calgary and Edmonton,” he said.