Crime up 20% in Morinville last year, fourth quarter report shows

Vehicle thefts and thefts from vehicles played a large part in the upswing in crime

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by Colin Smith

crimeCrime jumped by 20% in Morinville last year according to the RCMP Detachment local policing report issued in February.

The report came before Town Council at its regular Mar. 8 meeting as part of the 2021 October-December quarterly review.

The review also contained Automated Traffic Enforcement statistics that have prompted council to take a fresh look at the program.

In 2021 the RCMP recorded a total of 771 Criminal Code offences, up from 641 the year before. Crimes against persons were up 33%, while property crimes were up 15% and other Criminal Code matters were up 22%.

The report states that the uptick in property crime during the quarter was due to a rash of thefts of vehicles and thefts from vehicles, which RCMP say are being addressed through patrols, enforcement and education.

Traffic offences handled by the RCMP were generally down, along with motor vehicle collisions, which decreased by 18%.

The number of files handled by Morinville Enforcement Services almost tripled in the fourth quarter of the year, climbing to 464 from 156 in the same period of 2021.

These included 366 bylaw, eight Criminal Code. and 54 provincial files.

A total of 99 violations were recorded through the Automated Traffic Enforcement program in the October to December period.

Of those violations, 42 were recorded in October, 46 in November and 11 in December.

Eighty-one of the total took place in school/playground zones and 18 in other speed zones.

ATE was in operation for 51 hours during that period, with 47% of the time spent in speed zones in October, rising to 66% of hours operated in November and 80% in December.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe called those numbers into question, stating that with ATE in use only 15 to 20 hours a month, he questioned the value of the program.

Dafoe also noted that most of the hours are devoted to speed zones, while most violations are recorded in school/playground zones.

“We’re getting less than one violation per hour compared to anywhere from 2.2 to 7.4 violations per hour in the school/playground zones,” he said. “My question is, is it still worth it given the few hours, and, two, should we be focusing even more time on the school/playground zones.”

Dafoe then proposed a motion that council direct administration to bring the photo enforcement policy before it for review and discussion at a future committee of the whole meeting.

“I don’t think it has been looked at for a couple of years and policies should be reviewed periodically,” he said.

The motion passed unanimously.

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