Despite the challenges that we faced in 2020, reducing crime and improving community safety remained the top priority of the Red Deer RCMP. As always, we endeavoured to deliver the highest level of service to our community. Though the pandemic forced our officers to shift their approach, we continued to develop and maintain relationships within our community. Enhanced safety protocols, online school visits and phone calls instead of the traditional in-person community outreach have all become the norm. Though these unique circumstances have created challenges, we have also had many opportunities, major successes and new initiatives of which we are proud to share with you.
Throughout 2020, a number of community safety partners collaborated to develop and implement the new social diversion team. The Red Deer RCMP worked with our partners to develop an operational plan to integrate and enhance our non-emergency response to the community. This new team was launched in early January, and helps divert non-emergency calls for support where an individual needs transportation, mental health intervention, or other types of assistance. This allows our officers to focus on more proactive police approaches. I’m proud of the comprehensive approach our city’s crime and safety partners have taken in providing the right response at the right time to individuals in distress.
Another important initiative for the RCMP has been the launch of the online crime reporting system. Reporting online is a convenient way for citizens to report minor crime. These reports assist us in crime analysis, aids us in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads our investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists us in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Most importantly, it allows us to offer the most effective, efficient policing possible to Red Deerians. The system is easy to use and allows individuals to even include photos of their stolen or lost property. Ultimately, we want all crime – no matter how small – reported.
When daily work and home patterns changed drastically, so too did the legitimate use of trails, parks and other public spaces. With the use of intelligence-led policing, we shifted our proactive patrols to target our community’s changing needs during the pandemic.
The statistics show that we have seen forward progress in our efforts to reduce crime. In 2020, we saw a reduction in break & enters, theft of motor vehicle, theft in both under and over $5,000, and mischief to property. When looking at the five-year trajectory of crime in Red Deer, we see our numbers have been on a downward trajectory, with property crimes down 36 per cent from 2016 to 2020.
We also worked with The City to provide residents and businesses with new ways to participate in crime prevention. These included CAPTURE, a voluntary camera registry that can assist police investigations, and the free online bike registry, 529 Garage.
Extensive consultation with our community partners and Council held in early 2020 helped guide the Red Deer RCMP’s Annual Policing Priorities. Approved in October 2020, these priorities will inform our policing actions throughout 2021 and 2022. The top three priorities are:
- Crime reduction – property and drugs
- Public safety – dynamic enforcement
- Community relations – responsive and visible
Crime reduction is at the heart of what our community needs and expects from us. We will focus on reducing the number of crimes and activities that are driven by and/or support the illicit drug trade in Red Deer. We are utilizing proactive policing approaches that will reduce the negative impact of repeat and prolific offenders in our community. Working closely with Crown, Probation and Parole, PINPOINT continues to be a successful method for targeting these offenders, resulting in significant criminal code charges. Intelligence-led crime reduction strategies, youth intervention plans, monitoring high-risk offenders and other initiatives are and will continue to positively impact crime in Red Deer.
Dynamic Enforcement and public safety is a priority that we are approaching in new, innovative ways. A first of its kind in Red Deer, the Red Deer RCMP is partnering with The City of Red Deer’s Municipal Policing Services to bring two Community Peace Officers (CPOs) with enhanced authorities into the Downtown Patrol Unit. These two CPOs will provide additional resources for proactive policing, ultimately strengthening the number of boots-on-the-ground officers patrolling and developing relationships with the businesses and agencies in our city’s core. Additionally, the social diversion team will provide concerned citizens and business owners a new resource, contributing to the continuum of community safety supports available.
And lastly, we remain committed to developing relationships with our community. We will explore new opportunities to connect virtually with the community to keep two-way dialogue flowing. We will also increase our visibility in public spaces through enhanced patrols and enforcement, which will improve safety for Red Deerians.
In addition to the strides we have made in reducing crime and improving community safety, the Red Deer RCMP will continue serving our community each and every day. We are not only RCMP members, but community members. We thank you for your support and wish you all good mental and physical health as we work together to carry on through the pandemic with kindness and resilience.
Thank you and stay safe.
Supt. Gerald Grobmeier, Officer in Charge