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Crime statistics not reflective of ‘whole picture’


November 3, 2021
By Canadian Press / Local Journalism Initiative

Nov. 3, 2021, Drumheller, Alta. – The second quarterly policing report and crime statistics for the Town of Drumheller and the rural communities served by the Drumheller RCMP detachment were released on Wednesday, October 20.

Statistics for the detachment area, which include within the Town of Drumheller as well rural communities such as the villages of Carbon and Delia and the hamlets of Rosebud and Rowley, show some significant changes in the number of files reported between 2020 and 2021; however, Drumheller Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Ed Bourque says the statistics only make up part of the picture, and do not tell the whole story.

“We’ve been trying to get the word out and encourage the public to call in (small crimes),” S/Sgt Bourque tells the Mail.

Property crimes within Drumheller show a marginal increase of 12 per cent overall while these crimes saw a 33 per cent reduction in rural areas.

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Within the municipal limits, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Mischief – Other complaints, rising by 414 per cent from seven files in 2020 to 36 in 2021. It may appear, based on these statistics, property crimes are on the rise, but S/Sgt Bourque suspects this could also stem from increased community engagement.

Drumheller RCMP have been working hard to get the word out to the public “no crime is too small.” Reporting small crimes and suspicious activity can help the detachment develop a more conducive crime map, allowing officers insight where additional patrols or community interactions may be needed.

Through these additional patrols and community interactions there have been additional criminal code offences-specifically Failure to Comply and Breaches.

In 2019 and 2020 there were a total of 15 Failure to Comply and Breaches within the municipality, and zero in rural areas; these numbers rose to 23 within the Town of Drumheller, and 14 in the rural detachment areas in 2021.

Another area where the statistics do not tell the whole story is the rise in local Criminal Harassment files. There were a total of nine files in 2020, which jumped 100 per cent to 18 files in 2021.

However, S/Sgt Bourque says several of these files are related to a single, ongoing incident over the summer months.

Traffic enforcement also shifted dramatically, from 545 files in 2020 to only 98 in 2021.

This was due to a combination of factors, though S/Sgt Bourque says one of the biggest impacts was the transfer of a dedicated traffic enforcement officer with some nine years experience and training in March 2021.

In the absence of a dedicated officer, the detachment was conducting traffic enforcement as a group, though there was less focus in this area. S/Sgt Bourque noted a new member will be assigned to traffic enforcement in the coming weeks and expects these numbers will soon increase.


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