For the last 10 days of the year, 2day FM has been looking back on some of the biggest local stories of the year, as voted by our listeners. This is number one.
RCMP confirmed late in the year that Grande Prairie now leads the country in crime and violent crime rates per capita, based on 2014 stats. Grande Prairie’s crime severity index has jumped 33 per cent over the past five years, and the violent crime rate is now twice the national average. The Swan City now sits above others like Thunder Bay and Prince George that have historically been at the top of the list.
It’s likely that 2015 will be even worse, with an increase in armed robberies, domestic violence cases and crimes involving guns, which can largely be attributed to organized crime. There has been six homicides in the area, and another in Sexsmith, and and about three vehicle thefts are being reported a day.
In a report to city council, Staff Sergeant Donnan McKenna pointed out that the local detachment has 115 officers per 100,000 people, while the average in Alberta is 170. A 10 year plan is in place that includes hiring eight more Mounties a year for the next seven years. The city has budgeted an additional $1.1 million annually over the next three years aside to fund a drug unit and five new support staff positions.