NDP’s rural crime fighting plan gets mixed reviews

The NDP’s $10-million plan to combat rural crime with new RCMP officers, more Crown prosecutors and improved intelligence gathering is getting mixed reviews from a rural county reeve, a lawyers’ group and an opposition politician.

Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley said Friday the money will pay for 39 new RCMP officer positions focused on rural crime reduction, 40 civilian staff, 10 Crown prosecutors and new “bait” programs, including for farm equipment.

It is in response to what some residents have described as a spike in rural property crime.

The issue has grown more heated since the acquittal of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley for the killing of Colten Boushie, with some rural residents suggesting it is legal to shoot someone to defend property.

Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law welcomed news of the funding, but said Sunday she hopes it comes through “sooner than later” to help deal with the dramatic rise in property crimes plaguing her constituents.

“The rural way of life, where you left your keys in the vehicle or the neighbour wanted to stop in and borrow a tractor or a piece of equipment … it’s gone,” she said.

Law said that in meetings with Mounties from the five detachments that serve the central Alberta county, police said they are struggling to keep up. Lacombe and Red Deer County have committed to funding two new investigators for the Blackfalds detachment, but those positions have yet to be filled.

The reeve said they’ve also been pushing funding to rural crime watch groups, and holding information sessions about “environmental design” changes to make properties less vulnerable to would-be thieves.

At the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention in September, Law said the county plans to bring forward a resolution to lobby the provincial …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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