GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. — One grisly, recurring trend this year was an increase in crime in the Grande Prairie area — the biggest city centre within a few hours of Fort St. John.
The Grande Prairie RCMP detachment went before City Council in November and confirmed that the Grande Prairie led all of Canada in both Crime and Violent Crime Severity Indexes the year before, as reported by the Daily Herald Tribune. Global News says crime has risen more than 30 per cent since 2010 in Grande Prairie.
The presentation indicated that the numbers were even higher for 2015.
Officers had investigated 43 armed robberies, 75 per cent of which happening at targeted businesses as of Nov. 10.
Domestic and relational violence incidents were up, too. About 1,300 investigations so far this year have produced hundreds of assault charges, 25 charges for assault causing bodily harm, six sexual assault charges, and five aggravated assault charges.
The RCMP also brought to council’s attention how understaffed the detachment is. In Canada, the average number of officers is 194 per 100,000 people is 194. Alberta’s average is 170, but in Grande Prairie’s average is only 115. (78 actual officers)
To put in perspective, Fort St. John has 155, and Dawson Creek has 204.
Grande Prairie’s Mayor Bill Given told Energetic City in November there are many factors for these increases in crime rate. “We have young people in this region, who have significant disposable income, and that makes them very attractive to what you may call the dark side of our economy, and criminals.”
He also alludes to the surge in population growth within a small amount of time leading to the City not able to keep up with the demand on RCMP and other services.