Albertans Call for Focus on Addressing Root Causes of Crime, Survey Shows

by Morinville Online Staff

In a recent survey conducted by pollster Janet Brown for Alberta Municipalities (ABmunis), it was revealed that Albertans remain deeply concerned about public safety in their communities and are urging the next provincial government to prioritize tackling the root causes of crimes. The survey, conducted in January 2023, highlighted the increasing demand for a comprehensive approach to addressing community safety.

The non-partisan ‘Think Alberta, Vote Local’ public information campaign by Alberta Municipalities aims to compel political parties and candidates to prioritize community safety during the upcoming election. With 275 member communities, this issue holds significant importance for the association.

According to the survey, 61 percent of Albertans believe that crime is on the rise in their respective areas. This concern is consistent across various subgroups, including age, income, education, and regions throughout the province. When asked about the major causes of crime in their communities, survey participants commonly cited the economy and unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as homelessness and poverty.

At a recent ABmunis media event held on May 16, Director Tyler Gandam (Cities up to 500,000) highlighted an interesting finding from the survey, stating only seven percent of those surveyed cited a lack of policing resources’ as a major cause of crime. Gandam also emphasized that the responsibility for medical treatment, counselling services, affordable housing, and community and social services primarily lies with the Government of Alberta, not municipalities.

Gandam further encouraged voters to ask candidates a crucial question, stating, “That’s why Alberta Municipalities encourages voters to ask candidates who show up at their doors, ‘Which political party has the best plan when it comes to addressing the root causes of crime in my community?'”

Director Trina Jones (Towns-East and Mayor of Legal) shed light on the challenges faced by municipalities in effectively addressing issues such as affordable housing, homelessness, the ongoing opioid crisis, addiction, and poverty. She emphasized the need for the next provincial government to step up and lead efforts in tackling these complex and multi-faceted issues. Jones stated, “Albertans and the communities in which they live count on the provincial government to fund, and in many cases, deliver the supports and services Albertans need. The provincial government needs to take the lead and truly partner with municipalities. After all, Alberta Municipalities and its member communities have much to offer in the way of insights and suggestions.”

The survey also revealed a strong consensus among Albertans regarding the creation of a provincial police service. If the Government of Alberta were to move forward with this plan, 85 percent of respondents believed it should be put to a vote. This sentiment was shared across all subgroups, including those residing outside of Calgary and Edmonton.

Jones firmly stated Alberta Municipalities’ position, saying, “If the next provincial government decides, once elected, that it wants to create a provincial police service, Alberta Municipalities firmly believes the matter needs to be put to a vote, through a referendum.”

For further information on Alberta Municipalities’ non-partisan ‘Think Alberta, Vote Local’ public information campaign, visit this link. Additionally, the January 2023 survey on public safety and policing conducted by ABmunis can be found here.

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