With the recent gun violence incidents in central Alberta, such as the shooting death of C.J. “Jim” Williams at a Red Deer Walmart on Dec. 20, 2019, and the death of Jeffery Kraft from Ponoka from a gunshot wound in Lacombe on Dec. 15, citizens may be asking themselves if gun violence is on the rise.
Although there was a slight increase in violent crimes involving firearms in central Alberta in 2019 over 2018, the Ponoka RCMP detachment had a 69 per cent decrease.
According to statistics obtained by Ponoka News from RCMP K Division, there were a total of 333 violent crimes involving firearms in central Alberta in 2018, and 354 in 2019 — an increase of six per cent.
There were seven homicides caused by firearms in both 2018 and 2019 in central Alberta, and one case of manslaughter with a firearm in 2019.
Note: these numbers do not include Lacombe as it is under the jurisdiction of the Lacombe Police Service and not the RCMP. The stats are also not broken down by type of firearm and only include violence crime, as opposed to violations such as improper storage of a firearm.
There was an increase of eight attempted murders with a firearm in central Alberta in the past year, compared to three the year before and 19 more instances of pointing a firearm.
Robberies in the region using firearms went up as well, from 106 to 115.
There was a drop of 12 robberies with a firearm in 2018 to zero in 2019 in Ponoka, with no other significant firearm-related violent crimes.
There was one more incident of pointing of a firearm in 2019 than in 2018 with four, and one incident of imitating the use of a firearm while in the commission of an offence.
Overall, Ponoka saw a 69 per cent decrease in violent firearm specific offenses from 2018 to 2019.