Crime, collisions trending down

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City on track for small surplus

The number of injury and non-injury car accidents as well as the total number of Criminal Code offences in St. Albert is continuing to drop in St. Albert, news Mayor Nolan Crouse finds encouraging.

Council received its third quarter report Monday night, which reviews the operational, capital and financial highlights from July until the end of September of 2012.

Top of mind for Crouse was the continuing decline in vehicle accidents and Criminal Code violations as a whole. As reported by city manager Patrick Draper, based on nine months of data (January through September), the number of injury and non-injury collisions continues to decline. A total of 89 injury collisions have taken place in St. Albert to date in 2012, compared to 114 for the same nine-month period in 2011. For non-injury accidents, there have been 859 reported to police so far in 2012, down from 1061 in 2011 and 1068 in 2010 over the same period of time.

Criminal Code violations continue to drop year-over-year as well — in 2012 there have been 3,034 offences recorded as of Sept. 30, compared to 3,727 in 2011 and 4,547 in 2010.

Crouse said the continuing trends show the city’s approach to policing and enforcement is starting to lead to consistent results.

“You don’t arrest and shoot your way out of crime. You have to find a new model,” said Crouse, saying programs like block parties, community policing and photo radar are having an impact. “The numbers are down quite remarkably.”

The report is essentially 18 pages of graphs and charts designed to measure the city’s performance in different areas. Other notable changes include a continuing drop in residents’ consumption of water, down for a fifth straight year in the third quarter from 295 litres per person per day in 2008 to 261 in 2012 year to date. The city’s goal is to have residents using less than 200 litres per person per day by 2020.

The tonnage of organics collected since an organic composting program was introduced has also shot up, from 4,669 tonnes in 2011 to 6,971 tonnes in the third quarter of 2012. Electronic waste has also increased from 89 tonnes last year to 148 tonnes, while the amount of solid waste collected for landfilling has dropped as a result from 6,448 tonnes in 2011 to 5,156 tonnes.

Chief financial officer Anita Ho told council the city is still in a strong fiscal position with one of the lowest debt and debt servicing rates among Alberta municipalities. As of the end of September, St. Albert had $57.2 million in debt outstanding that required servicing of $1.6 million. Total debt is forecast to decrease to $56.8 million by the end of 2012.

“The city’s debt and debt servicing are significantly lower than stated in the Municipal Government Act and city policy,” Ho said. “We have some of the lowest debt and debt payments per capita in Alberta.”

Ho also projected a year-end operating budget surplus of approximately $418,000.

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