Cochrane police will be able to track crime trends more closely in the New Year.
The Cochrane RCMP is looking forward to the addition of a crime analyst in 2018 – a move that will aid in the tracking of crime in the area.
While there has been no date set for the hiring process, the funding for the position has been approved.
Airdrie is the nearest municipality with an RCMP analyst.
Peters said hiring a crime analyst for the Cochrane area would help in the detection of crime patterns.
“They’ll be able to analyze all the different reporting structures or all the different data bases not only for RCMP in Airdrie but also RCMP in surrounding areas in the city because we know that criminals travel from different agencies or different areas. ”
“We’ll have a guy that comes out of Calgary and commits a crime in Bragg Creek and then the next day he might be in Beiseker, and the next day he might be down in Okotoks. They travel around and they move between jurisdictions, ” Peters explained. “An analyst will try to identify unique traits and tie that together. So once the offender has been identified, they can go back and try to identify the crimes that they’re responsible for and gather evidence to support that – that’s a huge bonus. That can help with the crime reduction piece. ”
The addition of a crime analyst will also relieve some of the administrative work involved in investigations such as background checks.
“So our police officers are still out on the road, ” he said. “I think it will be a huge bonus. ”
The detachment has seen a spike in thefts this year.
In 2013, there were 1,580 property thefts in the Cochrane town and rural areas combined. But in 2017 that number jumped to 1,968 – more than a 20 per cent increase.
Cochrane isn’t setting the pace in the province as it appears to be a trend throughout Alberta.
“I think that’s the highlight – they are the same. There’s no epidemic there compared to elsewhere, ” said RCMP Corp. Curtis Peters.
It’s not exactly good news. The number of car thefts in Southern Alberta rural and municipal districts combined was 898 in 2013 but close to three times as many in 2017 at 3,197.
Peters stressed that the RCMP can’t speculate why there has been an increase since there could be a number of factors but did make mention of potential causes.
“Some potentially correlating factors – we all know there’s been an economic change, that may have something to do with it. In the same five year period, we’ve seen an increase in the rate of opiate addictions and crime related to that, ” he said.
“And we’re also seeing some other drug events – drugs increase in frequency – methamphetamine has become more popular in the southern Alberta region lately. Potentially there’s a relation there, we don’t know. ”
Cochrane RCMP are currently executing a placard system, which involves leaving information sheets on car windshields as well, checking the doors on parked cars to see if they are locked. If they aren’t, RCMP will lock them for citizens.
Quebec has taken these measures a step further. If police find a parked car with its doors unlocked, a fine will be issued. So far, 467 tickets have been issued in 2017 in Quebec for unlocked car doors, a reduction from last year where 517 were issued.