Members of the public have played a role in reducing Grande Prairie’s crime rate. Since it spiked in 2014 and 2015, RCMP Corporal Shawn Graham says more people have been reporting crime and suspicious activity. He explains that helps police better know where to spend their time.
“That has certainly helped us focus on what are the areas that are giving us the problems and who are the people that are giving us the problems. [We’re then] able to see that there’s been certainly a decrease.”
Much of that is done by analysts using the CompStat Management Tool, which identifies emerging trends in local crime using data and coordinates RCMP response. Graham says that’s why it’s important for crime to be reported, even if an officer isn’t needed at the scene.
“I would just ask that the public trust their instincts. If you see something suspicious, call the detachment or call Crime Stoppers. The tips do drastically increase the chances of solving a crime or stopping one in progress.”
Graham adds that it’s helpful to get to know neighbours, who may notice if something unusual is happening. He adds that personal security cameras can also be instrumental in solving crimes.
“Whether it be vehicle thefts in a certain area or break and enters… targeting those prolific offenders and identifying those crime hot spots and then addressing the issues within those hot spots.”
Data released by Statistics Canada Monday showed Grande Prairie’s Crime Severity Index had risen slightly from 2016 to 2017, while the rural Grande Prairie area’s dropped. The city is now ranked 14th of all places in Canada with more than 10,000 residents, while it was number one for both 2014 and 2015.
In addition to increased reporting, Graham says several other factors have played into the drop. Among them is the addition of more officers.
“During 2015/2016, thankfully the Grande Prairie municipal council and the County of Grande Prairie both invested in police resources. which had a very positive impact curbing criminal activity in the Grande Prairie area.”
While Grande Prairie’s Crime Severity Index went up in 2017 from 2016, Graham notes it was a minimal change and believes it shows their efforts are working. That includes a crime reduction strategy and several initiatives with community partners.