Ponoka’s rural and municipal property crime high

Like many central Alberta communities, property crime is a big problem

Property crime is keeping Ponoka RCMP busy, but it’s no different in other central Alberta communities.

Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Numan told town council Aug. 8 that property crime — which includes break and enter, thefts over and under $5,000, fraud and mischief to property — are time consuming and require collaboration with other detachments.

A six-month snapshot of crime statistics from January to July for the years of 2013 to 2017 shows that thefts under $5,000 and mischief to properties are big files. For 2017 for those six months the Ponoka detachment saw 128 files for theft under $5,000 and 158 files for mischief.

Those numbers dipped from last year’s statistics for the same time period with 164 and 205 respectively for 2016.

Numan now has two plain clothes officers who investigate these property crimes among others.

He provided some tips to help reduce crime such as educating oneself on the different types of fraud out there (three so far for 2017), locking cars and not leaving valuables inside vehicles as well as for business owners to check ID cards.

Property crime investigations are one of the three main priorities for Ponoka’s RCMP detachment.

The other two are the RCMP’s habitual offender program and road safety. The former looks at ways to working with these habitual offenders who appear unable to get out of a negative lifestyle loop.

“I like to focus on three things and do a good job of them rather than focus on a bunch of things at once,” said Numan.

As for road safety: “Impaired drivers are still prevalent.”

During the busy Ponoka Stampede week officers charged 11 individuals with impaired driving.

Numan said that while Stampede was busy for officers, a plan was in place to handle the large influx of people into town.

Ponoka Stampede week

Along with the 11 impaired drivers during Stampede week, the Ponoka RCMP detachment saw 107 people go through its cells.

Officers dealt with 330 calls for service in town and another 99 for calls in the rural area.

Investigators handled three sexual assault investigations, one assault with a weapon call and nine assault investigations. There were also three investigations related to possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, one unauthorized possession of a weapon and one related to the tampering of a serial number.

“Overall I think it was a very successful plan that we had,” said Numan.

He added that the statistics are a snapshot of what the detachment deals with but suggests the numbers don’t mean everything.

Numan said the detachment has a full contingent plus one extra person with a coverage of one officer per 602 people. The 2016 average is one officer per 746 people.

Other statistics for the January to June time period in 2017 show that there were three robbery investigations, eight sexual assault investigations, 85 assaults and one kidnapping/hostage/abduction investigation.

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