Strathmore RCMP reflects on 2022
January 12, 2023 By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Jan. 12, 2023, Strathmore, Alta. – According to Staff Sgt. Mark Wielgosz with Strathmore RCMP, 2022 was generally a return to normalcy for the local police service.
He explained, though not regarding the exact statistics, local criminal activity has been returning to historical averages now that COVID-19 concerns and restrictions have largely been lifted.
“Between 2020 and 2021, we did see some artificially low crime numbers just based on COVID-19 measures that were in place and the realities that we were facing at the time,” he said. “More people were at home, less people were travelling away from home, there was a lot more vigilance towards people’s properties, and based on a lot of restrictions, people were not moving around and it was easy to pick out activity that was suspicious.”
Despite this increase, Wielgosz explained Strathmore continues to generally remain below local four-year historical averages as far as crime is concerned.
He said there is also increased activity from habitual offenders who are moving throughout various jurisdictions including Calgary and several surrounding detachments.
“Our members have been well placed and have been responsive despite these changes and adjustment of crime trends, and they have been able to make a number of arrests,” he said. “Hopefully, that acts as a deterring factor with some of the area-travelling habitual offenders.”
Wielgosz added a program which has seen a definite impact for the detachment has been the ‘Watch Clerk Program.’
This, he explained, is a program which sees civilian staff taking on administrative tasks which RCMP members would otherwise have to complete instead of being on the road.
The program has been in place for the past five years with funding cooperation between the Town of Strathmore, Rockyview County, and Wheatland County.
The idea behind the program is to maximize time on patrol and engaging in crime reduction or prevention, while alleviating much of the associated paperwork that is required to administrate police services.
“Another program we have been seeing that has been very successful is our Habitual Offender Management Program,” said Wielgosz.
The program, he explained, fluctuates in its numbers of offenders being monitored, but aims to ensure those receiving RCMP attention are continuing to maintain law-abiding behaviour and lifestyles, as well as to not be further victimizing fellow residents or Albertans.
Wielgosz explained roughly 10 per cent of the population is committing more than 60 per cent of crimes, and therefore more RCMP resources and attention are being directed towards that 10 per cent.
Though an exact date was not given, Strathmore RCMP will be conducting a community town hall in order to gauge resident feedback on their local operations in the new year.
– Strathmore Times
Print this page