Persons, property, criminal code crimes all down
Spruce Grove's RCMP Detachment Commander says most crime in the region continues to drop.
Mike Lokken presented to council at its meeting on Monday, and reported a decrease in a majority of crimes, including assault, property mischief, and vehicle thefts in the city last year.
However, he says there are a couple areas they saw slight increases.
"Break and enters are slightly up in the City of Spruce Grove, and frauds are slightly up as well. But I think that the frauds can be attributed to the CRA scams, and the different telephone scams are that are coming out to the public," he said.
"Also the public response to that, in knowing that these are frauds and coming forward to the police and reporting them."
He says it's hard to pinpoint one single reason for the drop in numbers, and says it's more realistically a combination between some of the force's crime reduction campaigns, along with more funding for policing.
Spruce Grove added two officers last year, plans to add another two this year, as well as two each in 2020 and 2021.
Lokken also talked about impaired driving, which has been a focus across the country since December, when new laws gave police more authority to perform roadside breath tests on drivers.
Lokken says they're still awaiting hard numbers on impairment, but has a theory as to what the trend will be.
"Just my hypothesis would be that you would expect to see a rise in the number of charges of impaired driving. But after people see that the police are very focused on getting impaired drivers off the road, I would expect to see impaired driving numbers come down," he said.
"The number of vehicles that we see left overnight at licensed establishments, I would say supports that theory that more people are aware that they're going to be caught, and they're not willing to take the risk."
The detachment commander was also asked about the prevalence of distracted driving.
"People have become increasingly reliant upon their phones, and of course that spills off into their time in the vehicle. So one of the areas of enforcement could be to focus on people that are driving while distracted, because there are studies that indicate that distracted driving causes just as many collisions as impaired driving," he said.
Finally, he spoke to a MacLean's magazine report from the fall, calling Spruce Grove one of the most dangerous cities in Canada
Lokken says he saw multiple flaws, with one of the main problems being that 2011 population stats were used, despite the fact the city has grown by more than 8000 people in that time.
Another noteworthy drop was in the number of sexual assaults, which went from 50 in 2017 to 29 last year.