Crime rates in the City of Grande Prairie have gone down by more than 20 per cent. When comparing January 1st to September 30th of 2016 to last year, violent crimes against people have decreased by 21 per cent and property crimes have dropped by 27 per cent. RCMP Superintendent Don McKenna says reducing crime has been the detachment’s top priority.
“Reducing crime is part of it, but also safer communities; to make people walking down the street certainly feel that sense of safety and security is very important. Over the last year, we’ve done quite a lot of work in that regard; I know crime is down substantially and we’re at 2011 levels.”
Grande Prairie had the highest crime and violent crime levels in Canada in 2015. The city has since designated more than $1.7 million towards hiring nine new RCMP officers and five staff members for the detachment.
Overall crime for the first three quarters of the year is down 21 per cent. McKenna attributes much of the drop to its partnerships with organizations across the city.
“Crime is not just a policing issue. I mean, police can come and we can investigate crimes or try to prevent crimes, but there’s other people who live here as well. Those other supports out there, such as the Caribou Centre, the PACE sexual assault centre, HIV North doing outreach to some of our street engaged people is a great thing.”
McKenna points to their Police and Crisis Team as an example of a partnership that reduces crime by doing more than just putting people in jail. He adds that some environmental changes have had an effect, like people moving due to the economic downturn and habitual offenders being put behind bars.