Sturgeon County gets third quarter report from RCMP

By Staff

Sturgeon County – Morinville RCMP Staff Sergeant Mac Richards brought his third quarter policing report to Sturgeon County Council Tuesday morning. As in previous instalments, Richards said crime in the County was not on the rise. In fact, it was less than anticipated over the summer months.

Richards said the July to September period is historically an active one for police; however, this summer saw a tapering off as the summer progressed. “July started out that way. Then it really tapered off for August and September,” Richards told council. “That was a pleasant surprise.”

The staff sergeant said his detachment have focused on a number of priorities this year: property crimes, drugs, impaired driving and visibility in the community and on the roads.

Thus far there have been 26 impaired charges laid in the County in 2011. A total of 17 drug files have been investigated, bringing the year-to-date total to 40.

Although crime was down across the board in most areas, mischief to property saw an increase during the summer months. Richards said there were 104 complaints of mischief to property between July and September, bringing the 2011 total to 229 complaints. “This is the only area, when I look at crime numbers, that saw an increase for the quarter,” Richards told councillors.

Collisions a concern

Another area of concern to Richards and his detachment is motor vehicle collisions. There were five traffic fatalities in the County in the last quarter, seven so far this year. Another 34 accidents have resulted in injuries. In total, RCMP responded to 493 collisions in the County in 2011, 137 of those in the third quarter alone.

With seven traffic fatalities so far this year, statistics show Sturgeon County traffic fatalities are nearly at 2010 and 2009 levels of eight fatalities and close to the five-year high of nine.

Councillor Karen Shaw expressed her concern with the number of fatalities and said a number of life-taking collisions have involved young people.

“We just seem to be losing an awful lot of young people,” the councillor said, adding she hoped there could be something the county or province could do to better get the message out to drivers to be cautious and pay attention.

Richards said most of the fatalities in Sturgeon County this year have been due to driver error. “There’s lots of public service messages about driving and taking your time,” he said, explaining driving takes focus and attention. “Unfortunately, we see that momentary lapse and it can be tragic.”

RCMP received a total of 2,369 calls for service in Sturgeon County between July and September. There have been 6,715 calls for service to date in 2011. The Morinville RCMP delivers a quarterly crime statistics update to each of the municipalities they cover.

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