RCMP - Ponoka RCMP - RCMP Cruiser

Crime rate slowly falling in Ponoka County

Ponoka RCMP stats show crime figures down from same nine month period in 2017

Statistics don’t always show the whole picture, but falling crime stats in Ponoka County are a positive indicator.

That was one of the messages that Ponoka RCMP Sgt. Chris Smiley brought to the county council meeting Nov. 13 during his quarterly update.

“That’s the thing about statistics, they can tell us a lot and every now and then they can tell us the truth too,” Smiley stated, drawing some chuckles from council.

He pointed out that several charges — including criminal harassment, uttering threats, kidnapping — can all stem from just one type of call and generate multiple counts.

“Criminal harassment, uttering threats and assault have all gone down and most of those have a domestic violence aspect to them. Some of those types of files involve serious abuse, but not every one of those cases is and that’s important to point out,” Smiley stated.

“Last year, the big ones were theft of vehicles plus break and enters, both of which are down this year. However, overall there is an increase in property crime charges, but it’s a sign of a nice trend though.”

READ MORE: Ponoka RCMP gearing up for traffic program

Overall, criminal charges laid in the county from January to the end of September remain fairly constant — down seven to 345. Meanwhile, the number of traffic offences has nearly quadrupled over the same period in 2017 — with 4,647 tickets issued versus 1,222 last year. Not all of these were issued by RCMP, but includes statistics from the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit that patrol area highways.

Enforcement

Ponoka RCMP are making use of several initiatives that may be helping keep crime moving downward.

The first is keeping better tabs on individuals on court-ordered release conditions through a monitoring program.

“Following the hard work done to arrest and charge someone, some are then released pending court or are out of jail on probation. There are several being monitored locally, in town and the county, but it only works if the conditions are enforceable, with a curfew being the best,” Smiley stated.

“Some are towing the line and we work closely with probation to ensure we have the up to date conditions. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but we have to pre-plan. Has it had any impact on the repeat offenders? I believe it does.”

Two other more recent programs will hopefully assist officers in catching offenders and preventing crime.

RELATED: Ponoka crime mapping tool allows public to notice trends

“(A new crime mapping feature) is an interesting tool, allowing us to see what is going on and where. We use it proactively. It helps us pick areas for traffic enforcement where there have been some break-ins or vehicles stolen,” he said.

“It is also important for the public, letting them know if incidents are close to them, enabling them to watch out and take precautions.”

The other initiative — announced just last week — is a system where other staff can handle complaints and also take reports from officers in the field, saving time and keeping officers out on patrol instead of filling out paperwork.

Staffing issue

Presently, Ponoka is short four members due to extended sick leave and unfilled transfers and, while they are making due for now, Smiley would really like to just get the correct number of officers allotted to the detachment.

“We can’t talk about getting more, I just want what’s been promised us. (The RCMP) is short all over and part of it is lower recruiting numbers, but what is unique here is that it all happened at once,” he explained.

One recruit just arrived and that helps a bit, but it will be some time before the officer will be able to patrol on their own, so it still leaves Ponoka short.

“We have both GIS positions filled now and everyone is filling in on doing other work, but with the staffing where it is at combined with other priorities, certain items such as proactive traffic enforcement will be put on the back-burner.”

There is possible hope on the horizon, as some experienced members from other provinces have shown interest in coming back to Alberta and Smiley is optimistic Ponoka may get at least one sent their way.



jordie.dwyer@ponokanews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Team Alberta takes exciting victory in wheelchair basketball, remains undefeated

After three games in the tournament, Alberta is sitting in first place of its pool

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Most Read