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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Crime numbers drop but police remain busy

    The 2011 Drumheller RCMP Municipal Detachment statistics for 2011 have been released, and compared to 2010, it appears the numbers are down.
    According to the numbers, incidents of Criminal Code files against persons have gone from 283 in 2010 to 217 in 2011. Property related complaints have dropped from 581 in 2010 to 411 in 2011. Items designated as “other Criminal Code” have risen from 234 to 248.
    Overall this is a reduction of about 20 per cent.
    Staff Sergeant Art Hopkins cautions that reading into these numbers does not necessarily mean there has been a decrease in crime or workload at the RCMP detachment. He explains there are many factors.
    “Why do we have a reduction in crime? Is there less crime? There might be,” said Hopkins. “Is it that the crime is down, or is the reporting reduced? It might be a combination of both. When I look out in the bullpen, the guys are busy.”
    Other factors such as how incidents are reported or how outreach programs may have been functioning can also play a role in the statistics.
    “We might be more be effective in what we are doing, crime may be reduced, and more involvement in community groups maybe reducing crime. Overall what we are doing appears to be working,” said Hopkins.
    He said the statistics might not reflect all of the responsibilities encompassed by the police force. For example, this year they are piloting the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The police are also involved in more extensive investigations such as fraud.
    One example he cites is the two in-custody deaths at the Drumheller Institution on Christmas Eve. Hundreds of hours could be dedicated to such an investigation, yet it would not show up under criminal investigations.
    On the illegal drug front, the numbers have dipped as well. Charges for drug production were up from three to five instances. Possession charges remained even at 113, trafficking was down from 29 to 23. This year there were a number of seizures with values in the thousands of dollars.
        In the same period, clearance rates of criminal charges have remained relatively even. The overall average for 2011 is 54 per cent, compared to 52 per cent, the greatest increase was in Criminal Code Persons, which went from an 81 per cent clearance to 89 per cent clearance. Property related criminal incidents stayed stable going from 29 per cent to 28 per cent.
     While he said the clearance rate for property incidents seems low, this is due to the nature of the crime. Often, there are no suspects and long lag times. For example, if something is stolen, it may not be noticed for days before it is reported, or if a vehicle  is broken into or vandalized at night, it may not be noticed until morning.    Whereas in a crime against a person, such as an assault or a threat, the suspect is often known or recognizable.
    Hopkins also explains the clearance rates for crimes against a person could also be skewed by incidents at the Drumheller Institution.
    “We have assaults at the Drumheller Institution. We know they are assaults, they are reported as a person crime, but neither one will say anything,” said Hopkins.
    The bottom line for Hopkins is Drumheller is a
relatively safe and community-minded town where neighbours know each other.
    “I like to see the community as a whole. I don’t see a lot of changes since last year, I don’t see a lot of changes bad or good. I see a healthy community, a relatively happy community, and I see a community that has a lot of things going on for residents,” said Hopkins.


Cuts for Cancer in full swing

    If you haven’t been there yet, there still may be time today (Friday) to get your locks clipped and help support a good cause.
    Cuts for Cancer runs all day Friday, and while it is a good chance to get a haircut and support some of the worthwhile initiatives of the Drumheller Area Health Foundation, you can also support some of the brave souls who have stuck their heads up, to have them cut down.
    Once again the event has generated great support, as well as awareness of cancer. The disease has touched virtually everyone and does not discriminate.
    InSide Drumheller told readers in its January 13th edition that the Drumheller Titans, including members of its coaching staff, have lined up to participate for the second year. So have Brent Powell, Ken Schinnour and David Lee. Other names lined up include Patsy Andrew, Amber Ohlhauser and Marcel Augey.
    Last year the event, hosted by the Chop Shop, raised in the area of $25,000, and this year they are looking at bettering that total and have set $30,000 as a goal.
    A crew of haircutters will be at the Chop Shop from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Friday evening the Cat Country Cougar Hunters featuring Aaron and Garrison Krabsen will be performing at the Roadhouse.

Council outlines department priorities for new year

    The Drumheller town council was presented with the Town of Drumheller’s giant to-do list at their meeting on January 30.
    The five top priorities for council are the Badlands Community Facility (BCF) funding strategy, penitentiary utility rates contract, Town Hall relocation, BCF phase 2 design/committee, and forming the 2013 centennial celebration committee. The aforementioned priorities were discussed in the December 21, 2011 edition of The Drumheller Mail.
    Discussions with the penitentiary to change the utility rate contract have been promising. It is estimated that in a mere two weeks the issue will have been resolved.
    For advocacy, council and the Chief Administrative Officer will be pushing for the province to step up and provide funding to help with the rehabilitation of Michichi Creek.
    The town will also pursue a regional water agreement with Three Hills and Aqua 7 (a regional water consortium). An assessment of seniors housing is planned as well.
    Lobbying efforts will be concentrated on a few different fronts.
    The CAO will continue to work with AUMA task force in the efforts to develop a brownfields strategy to remediate contaminated sites.
    Other causes the town will lobby for are bringing post secondary education to Drumheller, expanding the water system with Starland and Kneehill Counties, getting funding from the provincial government to replace the water treatment system in East Coulee, and continuing to push for the twinning of highway 575.
    The priorities for the CAO include several of the town’s top priorities; the others are gathering proposals for the development of affordable housing in Hillsview and Elgin Hill. The CAO will also be continuing to assess options and find a resolution for the sale of the CN line that runs through town.
    Corporate Services will be focusing on developing the utility rate model. There is a perception that the rates are higher in the valley compared to other communities in the region. The town will pursue developing regional water, and changing sewer costs.
     The priorities for Infrastructure are to expand the water system, improve the aesthetics and amenities for the entrances to town, and upgrade the water and wastewater plants.
    Other projects that have continued from the prior year are the public works year relocation strategy and the Green Team efforts to encourage residents to be more environmentally friendly.
    Community Services’ major task is developing the centennial celebrations committee. Other priorities are developing an affordable housing policy, continuing beautification projects, and working on marketing the Badlands Community Facility.
    Economic Development will be continuing to implement the recommendations outlined in the Tourism Master Plan that was completed nearly a year ago.
    The priorities presented herein are merely the top projects that the Town of Drumheller is pursuing at this point in time. The list will be constantly shifting throughout the year as projects are completed or things are put on the back burner as more pressing matters come forth.


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