News | DrumhellerMail - Page #6
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Last updateWed, 22 May 2019 12pm

Alberta rural crime 23 per cent higher than urban rates

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    A new report released last week by Statscan showed much higher rural crime rates compared to urban, particularly in the prairie provinces. Alberta’s rural crime reported 38 per cent higher than in cities.
    Police-reported crime rate in rural areas was 23% higher than the urban crime rate.
    While police reported crime in Canada has been on a downward trend from 2009 to 2017, the report notes, the crime-rate decrease was larger in urban areas than in rural areas. The prairie provinces on average had 11 per cent higher rural crime rates than urban, with Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, along with Newfoundland and Labrador, being the only provinces where rural crime was higher than urban.
    Rural Alberta’s break and enter and motor vehicle theft is the highest in Canada, with break and enter incidents 48 per cent higher than in urban Alberta. The prairie provinces also have much higher rates of mischief.
    “Other violent crimes overrepresented in rural areas included sexual violations against children and violent firearms offences (such as discharging or pointing a firearm),” the report says.
    The report’s findings are not a surprise to Drumheller RCMP Staff Sergeant Ed Bourque.
    “Over the past five years the rates of urban and rural crime have been going up and we know that has lots to do with the downturn in the economy, issues with meth, fentanyl, and so on,” he said.
    For police, crime in rural areas is a different beast than what goes on in the city, and Staff Sgt. Borque agreed it presents unique challenges for RCMP. But while rural areas might face higher-rates of crime, maybe smaller, more connected communities are able to rally together to fight it better than urbanites.
  “Demographically it’s difficult for us -- we can’t be everywhere at once. But what we are seeing as well is we got the community on board,” Staff Sgt Borque said, adding people’s use of trail cams and surveillance in their homes keeps police more in the loop than ever.
 “They’re giving us immediate updates because they're getting pictures of the accused, and all of those things are assisting us,” he said.
   While rural criminals seem to be outpacing their urban counterparts, the report noted that the high rural numbers were caused predominantly by a few communities with significant crime problems.
    “The higher crime rate in rural areas was driven by a small number of police services that reported very high crime rates. In fact, most police serving a predominantly rural population recorded relatively low rates of crime,” the report says.
    Police services serving a mostly rural population served 16% of the population in the provinces in 2017, but reported 23% of violent crimes, 17% of property crimes, 27% of Criminal Code traffic offences, and 23% of other criminal violations.
    Higher rural crime rates were mainly observed in the northern area of the provinces compared to southern areas, except in Alberta where more rural crime was reported in rural areas in the south.


Committee adds new guidelines for safe Canada Day Parade

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The committee organizing the 2019 Canada Day Parade  in Drumheller is on track and ready to invite thousands to enjoy this year’s parade.
    The volunteer group was struck to continue the tradition of handing out parade candy and other handouts to parade goers and to make sure attendees can enjoy all the fun offered at this Canada Day tradition.
    This year the parade theme honours the centennial of the Drumheller Fire Department.
    The committee is focused on instilling new, easy to follow, safety protocols, based on best practices from other parades, they hope will remain for years to come. The $750 insurance policy for this year’s parade has been donated by Western Financial Group.
    The first concern is to keep parade attendees, young and old, from entering the roadway where vehicles or floats are travelling.
    “If you have seen a parade, you have likely watched a child dart out into the road,” said committee member Tom Zariski.
    This committee will have clearly identifiable Parade Deputies along the route with safety vests and stop signs (donated by Canalta Group of Companies) who will stop the entire parade temporarily if a spectator ends up on the roadway. Children must be sitting or standing on the curb for the parade to continue past.
    Its second concern is for people riding on floats.
    “Riding on the back of a flat deck truck or in the box of a pickup truck is dangerous, especially the higher you are above the ground,” said committee member Bob Sheddy.   
    If the float participant’s head is at or higher than 8 ft above the ground they must be wearing a helmet or be protected with an acceptable guardrail.
    Another great concern is driver distraction or vehicle blind spots.
    “There will be rules pertaining to the need for walking spotters and the need for in-vehicle spotters depending on the vehicle and the blind spots on the vehicles (i.e.: semi trucks, farm vehicles, etc.),” said committee member John Shoff.
    In addition, all drivers and spotters need a valid license and all vehicles need to be street legal and insured for use on the roadway.
    These rules and other rules will be clarified and posted on drumhellerparade.org.
  For more information you can contact committee members.

Firefighters respond to residential blaze

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The Drumheller Fire Department has a residential fire under control on 1st Street SE.

The department, along with the Drumheller RCMP and EMS responded to the blaze at 1008 1st Street South East, at about noon, Monday, May 13. Flames burned through the roof of the principal home causing extensive damage. There was also damage to a neighbouring home, garage and tent trailer.

Firefighters were able to get the upper hand on the blaze using its snorkel truck, which quickly knocked down the flames.

There were no reported injuries. The fire is under investigation.


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