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Kitscoty RCMP sees increase in property crime in first quarter report

Kitscoty RCMP saw a jump in property crimes early in the year.

Kitscoty RCMP presented their first quarter report at the County of Vermilion River council meeting on June 9. The report tracked offences and calls from January to March 2020 and showed very little change in persons crime but a 9 per cent increase in property crime.

A large portion of the increase was seen in vehicle theft. There was a total of 40 cases in 2020 which is 16 more instances when compared to 2019. Break and enters also saw a jump to 40 instances which was 6 more than last year.

Kitscoty RCMP Detachment Commander Sgt. Corey Buckingham says while the overall numbers do show an overall increase, it is mainly due to a dramatic increase in one month.

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“It’s difficult to say exactly what the increases are but when looking at the statistics it was actually really in January that we see a bit of an influx and things have actually calmed back down since then.”

Thirty-one of the thefts occurred in January with another two in February and seven in March. Break-ins followed a similar pattern with 27 in January, five in February and eight in March.

Buckingham also says the two statistics saw similar increases as they often relate to the same incident.

“The two go hand-in-hand. One or more vehicles have been stolen from the break-in sites and/or used at break-in sites.”

The report accounts for crimes before pandemic guidelines and restrictions were put in place, however, they didn’t seem to have an effect on crimes. Buckingham says they’ve had seven break and enters in April and 11 in May which are similar numbers for the same time last year. In 2019, it was nine and 11 respectively.

He also says there were six vehicle thefts in April and seven in May. In 2019, it was three in April and 10 in May.

A positive increase the RCMP detachment saw was the number of calls for suspicious activity. Officers responded to 58 calls reporting suspicious person, vehicle or property, 21 more than last year.

“I see it as a good thing. We’ve been working with our partners to increase awareness and encourage people to call us if they’re seeing suspicious behaviour and in several of those cases, these calls have resulted in arrests of property crime offenders in the area.”

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The pandemic may have had an effect on this statistic, as Sgt. Buckingham says calls for April and May were down by 18 per cent. Buckingham encourages people to visit the Alberta RCMP’s Youtube page for tips and preventative measures to protect themselves from property crime.

The Alberta RCMP is launching a new online tool to help residents report property crime. It’s expected to roll out province-wide on June 15.

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