St. Albert one of the safest cities in Alberta

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St. Albert has finished in the top five for safest cities in Alberta.

According to a Maclean’s magazine rankings, St. Albert is the fifth safest city in Alberta based on numbers from 2016. In Alberta, St. Albert only fell behind High River, Strathcona County, Beaumont and Cochrane.

St. Albert’s crime severity index sat at 54, which is well below the Canadian average of 70.96 and overall the city finished as the 136th most dangerous city in Canada out of 229.

Along with having a low crime severity index, the amount of violent crime is below the national average. St. Albert had a violent crime index of 32, which was below the national average of 75.25. The city finished at 175 out of 229 cities for the worst violent crime.

By almost every measure St. Albert finished below the national average, although the city did see a jump in fraud cases and finished higher than the rest of the country.

In 2016, St. Albert had 219 incidents of fraud or 301.69 incidents per 100,000 people. The national rate sits at 299. 05.

St. Albert RCMP spokesperson Corp. Laurel Kading said that the increase in fraud cases may be due to residents reporting more diligently to the RCMP.

“If it is something that’s happening locally we can try to investigate it. If its something happening like telemarketing or internet scam, at least we are aware of the trend and we can speak to the community about it,” Kading said.

Kading said that the statistics also include cases of attempted fraud that were reported.

“The numbers could indicate we are a more informed society and we are reporting things more in an effort to prevent the crimes from hitting somebody else,” Kading said.

Although the numbers reported were taken from the 2016 crime statistics, Kading said that fraud continues to be a concern for the local detachment and the RCMP across the province.

Recently, the K Division fraud department reported to the St. Albert detachment that there were four or five “romance scams” that happened in the city.

Residents were scammed into giving large sums of money to romantic partners they met online. Kading said that the fraudsters tend to prey on vulnerable members of the population, such as people who are getting over a breakup or death of a spouse.

“Someone has started a relationship of some type with them, usually over the internet, and then starts to ask for money.”

The scammers start a relationship with the victim, usually online, and then they will start to ask for money.

The local detachment was alerted to the frauds because the victims were scammed out of large amounts of money with some victims losing thousands of dollars.

Another area where St. Albert sat higher than the national average was in cocaine possession and trafficking. Kading said that this number may be higher because of the proactive policing of the drug unit.

The city also had a higher than average impaired driving rate for 2016. Kading said that this may be due to increased check stops and residents reporting suspected impaired drivers.

Morinville finished in 87th place in the most dangerous cities ranking. The crime severity index clocked in at 75, with the national average sitting at 70.96. The violent crime severity index sat at 101, while the Canadian average sat at 75.25.

The town ranked in 25th place in severity of youth crime across the country. The city had five incidents of Youth Criminal Justice Act offences which put them at 48.75 incidents per 100,000 people. The Canadian average was 16.74.

Morinville also had a higher rate of breaking and entering than the national average. The town had 46 incidents of break and enter in 2016. This number gives them a rate of 448.47 incidents per 100,000, which is higher than the national average of 438.51 incidents.

The town also had a higher than average rate of assault (48 incidents) and sexual assault (seven incidents) in 2016 than the national average.

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About Author

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.