An initiative that came into effect late September is being looked at as a proactive way to combat neighbourhood crime.
Corporal Troy Savinkoff with the Cochrane RCMP states there were many initiatives created throughout 2018 focusing on combating crime not only in Alberta but on a local level. "K Division RCMP has started several initiatives this year to reduce crime in Alberta, and the creation of the Crime Reduction Unit in Cochrane has even been a little bit ahead of what the K Division is doing after we picked up the way things were moving with policing in the province. The strong points we like to put out about crime reduction is it's not just about enforcement but also about education and getting the community involved in policing and supporting us."
RCMP has put out several media messages over this past year in terms of educating the public on crime reduction and that everyone plays a part. Getting people to report crimes is key, states Savinkoff, and with 'Crime Mapping' the entire community can now keep an eye on what types of crimes are happening in their specific neighbourhood. "The mapping strategy the K Division has come up with allows us, citizens, to proactively look at what kinds of offenses are happening in their area. We don't put up every single offense, but we put up things like theft, break and enter, mischief...those types of things where the public would have interest and can contribute. We hope that when people can see where there these crimes are happening, they can educate and help protect themselves."
With auto theft down a whopping 51% from the first to the last six months of 2018, Corporal Savinkoff can't help think these initiatives, are having and will continue, to make an effect. "I think this says a lot about the initiatives we've been implementing and I believe the Crime Map will only assist us going forward. Anybody can look it up on the Town of Cochrane website, and you can see what it talks about. Now on a K Division level when we look at a year-by-year comparison, from January to July of this year, across the province, there were 648 fewer motor vehicle thefts, 366 fewer break and enters, and 2358 fewer thefts across the province compared to a similar time frame last year. I have personally seen by doing these pro-active initiatives we have been more effective, and we have able to put a lot more thieves in jail."
For community members concerned about the negative connotations of publicly displaying crime trends, Savinkoff says he would rather focus on the benefits mapping can bring. "We utilize this crime mapping, including us at this detachment, for our pro-active efforts. If we see a lot of these thefts in one specific area, this is part of our stride to be intelligence-led, and really putting in the effort where the offenses are occurring. I can certainly understand some of that trepidation that it may point, however, you have to understand this is a fourteen-day snapshot so not depicting an ongoing trend in an area over a longer period of time. I will be perfectly frank, a crime trend like the theft of a motor vehicle happens anywhere; getting that fourteen-day snapshot, I don't think, really highlights a large issue in a certain neighbourhood that people would have to be concerned about."
Besides consistent media messaging and crime mapping, Savinkoff continues to give credit to a particular demographic of community members you may not have thought of. "When we're patrolling at night, believe it or not, one of the ways that we have solved some of these crimes is by young mothers who are up in the middle of the night feeding their newborn babies. They are the ones who are up, looking outside, and seeing the crime and then calling us without confronting these people. From getting that report, we develop a strategy on how we are going to go into that neigbourhood to effectively locate these individuals and bring them into custody in a safe manner."
To check out the Crime Mapping initiative, you can go HERE; as a reminder, information is updated every 14 days. However, Savinkoff states if you see something not quite right or have information about a crime, contact the local detachment at 403-851-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.