Finding ways to deal with a hike in property crime was just one of the items on tap at Ponoka County council last week.
During its regular meeting Oct. 11, Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Numan presented council with a quarterly report and also spoke about the developments in making up a new annual policing performance plan for the county.
Numan explained he didn’t have much time to garner input into the latest plan, as he was just taking over the detachment late last year so he decided to focus on three areas: enhanced road safety, building and maintaining positive relations with partners and crime reduction.
Safety on the road, especially regarding impaired drivers and excessive speeding, remains a big concern in the region, Numan stated. This is why he told council his detachment is taking advantage of the four targeted enforcement opportunities the provincial government will pay for in order to try and make things safer on area highways.
“We are also trying to get more Check Stops going with nearby detachments combined with our day-to-day patrols,” he added.
In terms of the relationships with the RCMP, Numan said it has been nice to get members back working on being more engaged with the public and building relationships since there wasn’t a lot of that work going on in the relatively recent past.
He added the fact that there is a new rural crime watch committee going for Ponoka County is a great thing to see and that the detachment will be getting more involved with that venture.
“The more eyes we have out there, the better, and it’s been very positive so far,” Numan said.
As for crime reduction, that’s a mandate the provincial government has given to the RCMP and the best way to deal with it is by checking to ensure those that have been released on certain conditions or probation are following those terms.
“It all seems to be working well and for next year’s plan, I will be looking to council for any ideas because it is up to all of us to come up with what is best for the community,” he said.
Council was also presented with some statistics of offences that took place in the portion of the county patrolled by the Ponoka detachment.
The data showed there has been a steady increase in property crime, from 132 cases in 2011 to 323 in 2015, which Numan explained includes a jump to 53 break and enters along with an increase in motor vehicle thefts.
“So far, we are tracking a similar increase in these crimes in 2016,” he said.
“We are also seeing an increase in criminal code cases, with one officer for every 1,025 cases in the county, which is slightly above the average in the province.”
A bit further break down of the numbers for the first eight months of 2016, Numan found some criminal offences are actually down, with property offences being up across the board.
On the traffic enforcement side, the number of tickets issued during April, May and June amounted to 1,165 — with 744 issued by the Integrated Traffic Unit for speeding on Highway 2. Numan stated the detachment is pleased to have the help of this unit consisting of seven RCMP officers and five Alberta Sheriffs, who usually target motorists going at excessive speeds.