Rise in crime reflects economic stress in Calgary, analyst tells police commission

Crime in Calgary has increased, and while it's not necessarily caused by the city's economic troubles, there's certainly a link, an analyst told the Calgary Police Commission on Tuesday.

Calgary Police Service crime and intelligence analytical section manager Rebecca Davidson says stress from the economy is reflected in the data, especially when it comes to domestic violence.

"We're seeing almost a doubling of the number of incidents since 2014. We're seeing that it is tied to the economy in terms of a relationship, not causation," she told the commission.

"But we do know that those families that are already struggling, having economic stressors on top of that can obviously exacerbate situations of domestic strife."

Mike Symington/CBC

Davidson said another big issue is drug use — particularly, methamphetamine.

"It's cheap, it's easily to obtain, and it's highly addictive," she said.

"And it, unfortunately, leads to volatile behaviour which is unpredictable — where we've seen, obviously, random acts of violence. And it's driving other types of crime, where people are looking for that next hit. So, you'll see car prowlings and other types of crime."

She says many crimes are ones of opportunity, such as thefts of vehicles left running while unattended.

Police Chief Mark Neufeld acknowledged the public purse is tight, but he told the commission his force will manage.

"The bottom line is we're focused, as we've said, regardless of the outcome of budget deliberations and that sort of thing. We're going to be here for Calgarians either way," he said.