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Youth, personal crimes up while drug and property crimes down in Grande Prairie

The number of youth committing crime in Grande Prairie is slightly above the provincial average.

Superintendent Don McKenna gave a quarterly update at the city’s Infrastructure and Protective Services committee meeting recently which highlighted a number of areas the local RCMP are focusing on, including working more to connect with young kids at teens. He says early intervention is key.

“If we can offer them something more than what they have. Offer them some hope. I mean, that’s why we do things like Camp Little Buffalo too. We want to do some intervention with out partners to help these kids. To give them an opportunity to straighten out their lives.”

Camp Little Buffalo began in 1998. RCMP officer work as mentors at them camp which aims to teach self-esteem, decision making and consequence realization among other skills. Youth between the age of eleven and 13 must be referred to the program.

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McKenna explained how the force strategizes. They try to focus on three areas; habitual offenders, high crime areas and crime types.

Using this strategy they recently had a 12 day sting at a local hotel known to a hub of criminal activity. McKenna says over their time there they executed 94 warrants and also discovered imitation hand guns, stolen vehicles and drugs.

“All that type of criminality that we won’t tolerate. If somebody has a problem with an addiction there are places to go and there is help out there if they want it. But criminal activity won’t be tolerated.”

Numbers that McKenna shared with committee also show a drop in property and drug crimes. Those same first quarter stats did show an increase in total personal crimes, like robbery and assaults.

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