Rise in serious crimes in 2018

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The fourth quarter policing report shows that serious crimes climbed in St. Albert during the first three months of the year when compared with the first three months of 2017.

Thefts of motor vehicles more than doubled with 47 thefts from January to March this year compared to 22 incidents reported from January to March in 2017. Theft over $5,000 doubled to 12 incidents from 6 incidents for the period.

When compared to last year during the same three-month period 15 categories of crime had climbed, one category had stayed the same and only five crime types had dropped.

The report authored by St. Albert detachment commander Insp. Pamela Robinson showed a sharp increase in many serious crimes like sexual assaults and theft of motor vehicles.

“There was a significant increase in the seriousness of crime types that resulted in the prioritization of operational needs over the proactive response identified in this APP (Annual Policing Plan),” Robinson said in the report.

Robinson said that the increase in serious crimes attributed to an “increase in investigative time” impacting the daily operations of the detachment.

Cpl. Laurel Kading, spokesperson for the RCMP said that theft of motor vehicles has gone down in the beginning of the second quarter.

“We did have quite a spike with our theft of vehicles. That has slowed down right now,” Kading said.

The spokesperson said that she believes some of their “key players may be out of action right now” when it comes to theft of motor vehicles.

Kading said the biggest concern when looking at the fourth quarter is in the category of persons crimes, which involves crimes like homicides, robbery, sexual assaults and kidnappings.

“There is often a link between persons crimes and substance abuse. Substance abuse also masks or is a portion of domestic issues,” Kading said.

Kading said that the intelligence that the RCMP is hearing from the community is that there is an increasing amount of people involved in methamphetamine use, although she added they have no proof that this is the case.

“Information has been shared that we are seeing, even with the property crimes, we are seeing further mischiefs and damages occurring that we believe are related to some people that are involved in some serious drugs,” Kading said.

Overall persons crimes had climbed from 136 Criminal Code charges last year during the fourth quarter to 158 this year. Property crimes had climbed from 474 to 592 charges. Total Criminal Code charges had climbed from 775 last year to 937 this year. The first three months of 2018 had the highest amount of Criminal Code charges laid when compared to fourth quarter numbers all the way back to 2014.

In January and February the city experienced multiple major incidents in the community. In January the city saw a total of 329 Criminal Code charges laid compared to only 242 laid in January of 2017. Many of those charges were due to an increase in persons crimes.

Some of the incidents include a stabbing which resulted in a man and a woman sent to the hospital and a man facing aggravated assault charges, a search warrant netting 7,500 lethal doses of fentanyl, a break and enter at The Shootist which saw 21 handguns stolen and a drug related robbery of a 14-year-old at McDonalds.

In March a 27-year-old Edmonton woman was charged with an attempted murder after a 27-year-old man was sent to hospital after suffering serious injuries.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.