Violent offences in Wetaskiwin raises crime index to #1 in Alberta

Wetaskiwin rated ‘third’ nationally in Maclean’s ‘Most Dangerous Places’

  • Nov. 5, 2018 9:25 a.m.

The City of Wetaskiwin will be rated in the top five spots of “Canada’s Most Dangerous Places 2019,” a feature that will appear in Maclean’s Magazine later in November, according to city staff.

Editor’s note: In a Nov. 5 online article, Maclean’s magazine stated “Wetaskiwin’s Crime Severity Index numbers peg it as the most dangerous city in Alberta—and the third most dangerous in the country.”

A press release sent out from the City of Wetaskiwin on Oct. 30 noted that, “Wetaskiwin’s annual Crime Severity Index (CSI) ranking has increased due to several high-profile violent offenses that occurred” over the past year. This increased the municipality’s ranking of eighth in 2018, to “top five” in the Maclean’s Canada’s Most Dangerous Places 2019.

City manager Dave Burgess explained that Maclean’s magazine contacted the City of Wetaskiwin with the information, which ranks communities according to the CSI. The Maclean’s methodology is a “Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime, which takes into consideration both the volume and seriousness of offences.”

Burgess was reluctant to state where exactly Wetaskiwin would measure up, as to not “preclude Maclean’s.”

“We are hesitant to say because we wouldn’t want to be wrong,” he said. “We are a few up and it’s safe to say that we are in the top five.”

Burgess attributed the crime index rise to “two homicides” that occurred in the city last year.

“This shot up our numbers in crime severity,” he said. “This could have easily happened somewhere else, but because it happened in the city, it affected the severity index.”

Despite the ranking, Burgess said community safety remains priority. Wetaskiwin city council committed additional RCMP resources in the 2018 budget. Moreover, the city stated that there was an overall decrease in crime from 2017 to 2018.

“We do not have our heads in sand on this and we want to improve the level of safety,” Burgess said.

Bruce Hinkley, NDP MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose, echoed that crime has been going down in the province but that the government has dedicated more resources to the local courts in order for cases to be presented in a timelier manner. He also said that the government has approved a grant for Wetaskiwin’s Victim Services for over $400,000 to be spread over three years.

“Ideally though we wouldn’t have to have those (grants), and the fact that they applied for funding support means it’s probably busy,” Hinkley said.

An RCMP spokesperson noted police know the public is concerned about crime. “Crime reduction is a priority for the Alberta RCMP,” said Cpl. Laurel Scott, on behalf of the RCMP.

“We acknowledge that Albertans are concerned with crime rates in their communities and we also understand that people feel vulnerable and frustrated,” she said.

“Our intelligence-led and focused crime reduction strategy allows us to proactively intervene, reducing calls for service and easing some of the pressures front line members face so that they can focus on operational duties; keeping our communities safe,” Cpl. Scott added.

Calls were made to Wetaskiwin RCMP but no one was available to provide local comment before press deadline.

By Jessica Jones, for the Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

Just Posted

Eckville’s season of giving continues with Santas Anonymous

The program provides gifts and food for families who need at Christmas time.

Eckville Library Silent Auction kicks off

The fifth annual fundraiser will run Nov. 20 to Dec. 7

Eckville wrestlers finish well at season’s first tournament

Many of the wrestlers finished in the top three at the competition

Eckville Aces finish on podium at Zones

The senior boys volleyball team competed in the Zones tournament in Lacombe on Nov. 16 and 17.

Eckville Sr. Eagles fly to victory

The Eagles defeated the Whitecourt Wild 6-2 on Nov. 17.

VIDEO: Shoppers like self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, survey suggests

Grocery Experience National Survey Report suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

Ponoka’s Caleb Shimwell arrested after pursuit

Police allege that Shimwell rammed a police cruiser

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Most Read