by Colin Smith
Crime against persons was up by 25% in Morinville for the last three months of 2022, while property crime was down by almost the same amount.
That information was provided Staff Sergeant Chris Palfy, Commander of the Morinville RCMP detachment in the third quarter Community Policing Report presented to Town Council at its regular meeting Tuesday, April 11.
The RCMP dealt with 45 persons crimes from October to December, compared to 36 during the same period in 2021.
Property crimes declined to 81 from 106 the previous year.
“It’s not a large number,” said Palfy. “But we do like to see the negative in front of stats.’
There were no offences related to death, as opposed to one in 2021, and no robberies or kidnapping/hostage/abduction cases.
There were an equal number of assaults, 15, and extortion cases, one. Sexual assaults doubled from three to six, which Palfy said was on par with previous years.
“We did have a fairly significant sexual assault investigation that we were able to lay a number of charges on, in cooperation with the Internet Child Exploitation Unit,” Palfy added. “That number is going to remain high as we find more offences and charges to lay on that individual, who is now in custody.”
The number of criminal harassment files went up 6 to 11, but most were determined to be unfounded or there was insufficient evidence to lay a charge.
As for property crimes, the number of break and enters rose from four to seven.
“That’s not a number we like to see increase, said Palfy. “But I think we can focus on these types of property crimes in the future.”
Motor vehicle thefts held steady at seven, while thefts over and under $5,000 and mischief cases dropped substantially which Palfy attributed to the extremely cold weather in December.
Provincial traffic files jumped 95% for the quarter, from 149 to 290.
Palfy said this was the result of an Education Through Enforcement initiative undertaken in October.
It saw each detachment officer mandated to issue 10 tickets, whether actual offence tickets or warnings, for offenses affecting public safety, such as speeding, non-use of seatbelts, failing to stop and use of cell phones. Four of the 10 tickets were to be issued in Morinville.
“Almost everybody hit that target and some kind of hit it out of the park,” he said. “That’s why you see that great big increase in provincial traffic code numbers.”
The number of Mental Health Act files went down from seven to two, which Palfy said was nice to see.
He noted that the detachment now is benefiting from access to the Help I Am app linked to Alberta Health Services.
If officers are dealing with a person suffering from a mental health crisis the app allows them limited access to the individual’s existing mental health records including contact information for support people.
“It allows us to first contact those people before we have to seek medical attention,” Palfy. “Oftentimes, we are able to redirect and divert them to more appropriate support.”
The Alberta RCMP is also involved in the transition to the upgraded Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system at its operational communications centres.
Improvements will include availability of 911 real-time text, scheduled for next spring, and potential addition of azimuth to enhance coordinates, vehicle telematics and building schematics.
A possible further step would be communication with 911 operators by video call.