Violent crimes have fallen by 18 per cent in 2017 when compared to last year’s numbers. October saw a total of 83 violent crimes reported by police, while 112 were reported during the same month last year. The city’s assault rate has fallen by more than 20 per cent in 2017, with 546 incidents recorded so far this year compared to 683 over the same period in 2016.
Property crime, including thefts, break-ins and frauds, has also declined in recent months. A total of 279 property crimes were reported in October, down from 344 in October of 2016. So far this year, the police have encountered 3,384 property crimes, a reduction of nearly four per cent from the same period in 2016.
“We’re happy to see that we’re moving in the right direction,” Police Chief Troy Cooper told paNOW. “Some areas are still a bit of a concern for us, and some we’re still working towards, but we do enjoy seeing crime turning down.”
Cooper said the police are particularly concerned about Prince Albert’s rising rates of robberies and break-ins. The city has seen 72 robberies so far in 2017, an increase of more than 10 per cent. While break-ins to residential homes have fallen more than 15 per cent, non-residential break-and-enters have jumped by 42.86 per cent this year.
“Both those issues are directly related to drug enforcement and drug addictions,” the police chief said. “Crystal meth gives groups and gangs an economic foundation, and that’s also driven up our weapons offences.”
The police are responding to the crystal meth issue and resulting crime by targeting the suppliers, Cooper said, and by focusing their attention on chronic offenders who commit crimes almost every time they are released from custody.
Although the city is still facing some challenges with crime, and was labelled one of Canada’s most violent cities by a recent national report, Cooper said he’s happy to see progress is being made. Prince Albert’s crime rate gets a lot of negative attention, he said, but there are plenty of positive stories coming out of the city as well.
“We do have challenges here, but I think we’ve got a lot of really good work that’s going on,” Cooper said. “Anyone that lives here can tell you that it’s a nice community to live in.”
On Twitter: @TMacPhersonNews
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