With the end of 2020 in sight, Crowsnest Pass council received an update from RCMP Cpl. Mark Amatto about the collected crime statistics for the municipality.
The report spanned from January to November. Overall, the detachment has noticed an increase in assaults and thefts. Added pressures resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic may be a factor, though Cpl. Amatto said it’s often hard to identify just one factor in a data trend.
Council was also informed about the RCMP’s Habitual Offender Management program being implemented in the community.
Often, a small group of criminals are responsible for the majority of crime in a community. HOM, created back in 2013 as part of RCMP K Division’s crime-reduction strategy, provides a framework for officers to identify such individuals and work to end their criminal activity.
The program is intentionally transparent, and participants are given written notice that they are the focus of police attention.
“We gotta step out of the shadows sometimes to say you’re a problem, we know you’re a problem, and we’re going to do something about you,” said Cpl. Amatto. The letter explains legally “what gives us those grounds to do this.”
The HOM program is not voluntary, though in Cpl. Amatto’s experience most individuals are willing to participate as the increased police contact acts as a support to lifestyle change. HOM ends only when participants stop committing crimes or move out of the area.
The program allows police to concentrate on those responsible for most problems, though that doesn’t necessarily mean more arrests and charges being laid.
“It doesn’t always have to be punitive . . . to get them where they need to be,” said Cpl. Amatto.
“There’s nothing wrong with going and buying a guy a burger and a coffee and sitting down, have a heart to heart, and try to touch up on what’s in there. They will open up.”
Often, he continued, police involvement in HOM is to help people break the underlying issues of addiction and mental health that contribute to criminal activity by helping them choose to access resources.
“It’s amazing what can start to happen,” Cpl. Amatto said. “There’s some very positive success stories that I’ve seen first-hand.”
Retirement and recreation money
With the impending completion of the rehabilitation and expansion of York Creek Lodge, council discussed what to do with nearly $75,000 remaining in the senior housing authority facility upgrade reserve.
Council had the option to move the remaining balance of $74,809 to another reserve to help with future projects but decided to keep the funds designated as a senior capital reserve that would be available once other resources and funding avenues had been exhausted.
On another money-related topic, the developing intermunicipal collaboration framework with the MD of Pincher Creek was discussed. Meetings between the municipalities identified that MD residents frequently use recreational facilities paid for by Crowsnest Pass taxpayers.
A draft agreement for the MD to contribute $25,000 to recreational facilities in Crowsnest Pass will be forwarded to both councils in the new year.
Though lower than what he suspects would be a representational figure for MD resident usage, Coun. Dean Ward said the agreement was part of a good conversation that is moving in the right direction.
“I wasn’t tickled pink with the financial commitment made by the MD, but I was pretty happy that they came to a realization that they do owe us some dollars,” he said.
The contribution is anticipated to be revisited once better data is collected to determine how many MD residents are using Crowsnest Pass facilities.
View from up here
Council tentatively agreed to participate in the Oldman River Regional Services Commission’s 2021 urban orthophotography project.
The project is set for the spring and involves taking photographs from an airplane of the municipal area. The images will be used as part of a geographic information system that helps in land assessment, construction and emergency services.
A similar project through the Southern Alberta Ortho Photo Partnership, which will cover all of the municipalities’ boundaries, had been approved by council back in November. The ORRSC project covers just the urban areas.
The Town of Fort Macleod is the managing partner with ORRSC for the project. Typically the Alberta Community Partnership fully covers the project cost, though if the funding application is unsuccessful the price ranges between $7,023.93 and $9,131.11, depending on how many municipalities commit.
Crowsnest Pass has participated in the project every four years since 2002.
The municipality will have the opportunity to withdraw its participation should funding from the province be unavailable. For now, preliminary support helps in the grant application process and gathering accurate land area measurements for price quotes.
The next regular council meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. at the MDM Community Centre in Bellevue. Agendas are available on the municipality’s website at https://bit.ly/CNPagenda.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze