Rural residents in Foothills County, Alberta will be pleased to hear that 24-hour RCMP police patrols will become a permanent staple in the community.
The Foothills County Rural Policing Plan was adopted earlier this year as a way to combat rural crime.
Around 20 RCMP officers are involved in the initiative and located in the Okotoks, Turner Valley and High River communities.
“I’ve heard results from residents that have said they’ve had really good interactions with the RCMP when they’ve had incidents take place — that they’ve had responses that have been immediate — and so overall presence, people have noticed the presence of the RCMP,” said County Reeve Suzanne Oel.
According to RCMP Staff Sgt. Laura Akitt, the regular patrols are an effective measure in combating property and automobile crime in rural areas.
“It gives us the ability to provide 24-hour policing to the entire Foothills County, which I think is extremely important. It also gives us the ability to mobilize resources quickly if we need to,” said Staff Sgt. Akitt.
According to Statistics Canada, rural communities in the West are disproportionately affected by higher crime rates than their urban counterparts.
“As with most property crimes, rates of break and enter and motor vehicle theft were higher in the Prairie provinces, especially Alberta. In 2017, police reported 978 break and enter incidents per 100,000 population in rural Alberta,” claimed Statistics Canada.