Third quarter crime rate at acceptable levels

By staff

Sturgeon County – Morinville RCMP Staff Sergeant Mac Richards attended County Council Tuesday morning, presenting a picture of crime in Sturgeon County that is at or below the average levels seen over the past three years.

“This is where I want to see numbers moving,” Richards told council, adding although crime rates are down overall, property crime continues to be the largest concern in the county.

Richards said the third quarter, which takes in the summer months, traditionally shows an increase in crime, particularly property crime. However, in the case of thefts from vehicles, 34 incidences were reported between July and September, an increase of only eight from the previous quarter.

Richards said while thefts from vehicles are on par with the three year average, they are significantly down from 2009 numbers.

Another area of concern to the Morinville RCMP Detachment is the number of motor vehicle collisions. Although Richards said collisions are down significantly, traffic fatalities are still too high.

The RCMP report a total of six traffic fatalities in Sturgeon County so far this year, with two fatalities occurring in each of the three quarters. Additionally, there have been 51 collision-related injuries in 2010 – 18 in the first and third quarters and 15 in quarter two.

Richards said many vehicle fatalities and injuries are occurring at intersections and when vehicles cross the centre line, and that education is essential to traffic safety.

“We can’t be at every intersection to make sure people are stopping,” Richards said. “That’s where education comes in.”

One area of education the RCMP will continue to work on is Richard’s belief that speeding does not get drivers to their destination quicker. Richards said driving 20 kilometres per hour over the speed limit on a 20-minute drive will shave just one minute off the trip time.

However, one area where education does not seem to be having a major impact is on impaired driving. “Unfortunately, society has been working on this for 40-plus years,” he said. “The guys coming in blowing 100 are few and far between. We’re getting them blowing 200. It wouldn’t matter what the legislation was – they’d still drink and drive.”

Richards said the detachment has had increased success this year nabbing impaired and reckless drivers because of the assistance of the public reporting suspicious driving behaviour.

The Morinville RCMP Detachment makes a quarterly statistical report to each of the five municipalities it covers.

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