Westwind Weekly News
Sgt. Kelly McCoy of the Raymond RCMP presented the force’s quarterly statistics to town council at its March 6 meeting.
The report shows that property crimes — including thefts, break-and-enters, fraud and arson — have increased significantly from the same quarter in 2016.
The fourth represents October, November and December.
In those months in 2017, total property crimes shot up to 78 incidents from 54 in 2016.
Out of the 78, mischief to property increased the most drastically, to 26 incidents in 2017 from 15 in 2016.
There were also 32 reported thefts under $5,000, which represents a consistent increase from the fourth quarter of 2014.
In October through December 2014, there were seven incidents of theft under $5,000, which increased to 18 in the same period of 2015 and 25 in 2016.
McCoy says the uptick in property crime is potentially due to the economic downturn in the province since oil prices collapsed in 2015.
“It’s hard to put the finger on any one thing, but possibly the depressed economy may have something to do with it,” he said.
McCoy also speculated that it could be the result of increasing drug use in the area.
“People need more disposable cash, so they’re stealing items to either pawn or get rid of for a couple dollars here or there to support a drug habit,” said McCoy.
He urged residents to lock the doors to their homes and vehicles to make it more difficult for thefts to occur.
But it wasn’t all bad news for Raymond and area.
In the same period of time, persons crimes — including homicides, robberies, assaults and uttering threats — decreased significantly.
There were 16 incidents in the final quarter of 2017, down from 40 in the same part of 2016.
There were no robberies during that timespan in 2017, compared with four in 2016.
There were also eight reported assaults, compared to 21 towards the end of 2016.
Uttering threats saw a similarly significant decrease to three incidents from 10 in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Mayor Jim Depew said the report was informative, but council would prefer statistics that are localized to the Town of Raymond.
The Raymond RCMP is also responsible for Magrath, Del Bonita, Spring Coulee and Stirling, among others, so its statistics are for the entirety of rural southwestern Alberta.
“We’d like it more itemized for Raymond,” said Depew. “We don’t need it for everyone else.”
The mayor hopes that the next RCMP report, for the first three months of 2018, will be Raymond-specific.