September saw a drop in Prince Albert’s crime rate, including the fewest assaults of any month so far in 2017.
A total of 1,089 criminal incidents were reported in September by the Prince Albert Police Service, representing a significant reduction from August’s total of 1,277. The city saw 268 property crimes last month, a drop from the previous month’s total of 337 and markedly lower than the 414 incidents logged in September of 2016.
Thirty-nine assault charges were laid by police last month, the lowest rate the city has seen all year. So far in 2017, there have been 490 assaults, a major decline from the 620 assault charges issued over the same period in 2016. While the rates of some violent crimes have increased slightly, the city is on track to see its violent crime rate decline by more than 17 per cent from 2016.
Property crime fell in September as well. A total of 286 property-crime charges were laid last month, down from 337 the month before. While property crime has been a common topic in the news lately, the city’s overall property crime rate is on track for a 2.3 per cent drop compared to 2016.
Police Chief Troy Cooper told paNOW he was pleased to see the crime rates falling. While it is difficult to draw broad conclusions based on only a few months of data, Cooper said the numbers seem to indicate a positive trend.
“Starting in about August we saw a turnaround both of property crime and of crimes against persons,” Cooper said. “It’s a move in the right direction.”
While Cooper said crime rates have also fallen in other urban centres in the province, the city’s enforcement strategy was also a factor in the falling crime rates. Cooper particularly credited drug-enforcement initiatives and Prince Albert’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), an integrated policing unit that takes on organized crime and major drug trafficking investigations.
“You’ve seen recent seizures of both cocaine and meth, and that’s something we’re going to continue to provide resources for,” Cooper said. “They’ve got the resources, the time and the skillset to tackle some of these complex investigations.”
This year’s police budget will include a new, provincially-funded position on the CFSEU, Cooper said, which will help police continue to tackle even more major drug investigations without pulling resources from elsewhere in the department.
Cooper said city police have made great efforts to target the root causes of crime in recent months, an initiative which is showing results. Addictions directly drive crime, the police chief said, so by focusing on major drug traffickers the police are able to drive down the crime rates across the board.
“If we can reduce the use and addictions related to meth and some of the other addictive drugs, we’re going to see that manifest itself in lower crime rates,” Cooper said. “It seems to be paying some dividends, so we’re going to continue with that.”
On Twitter: @TMacPhersonNews
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