Red Deer robberies, thefts drop after RCMP target career criminals

Kidnapping, assault charges against 3 officers give Calgary police another black eye, criminologist says

Police in Red Deer, Alta., say an initiative that targets what they call career criminals is getting results — but one expert says it's a poor long-term solution.

From April 6, 2016 to Jan. 10, 2017, the RCMP's Project Pinpoint conducted more than 1,100 checks on targeted people and places in a bid to crack down on so-called career criminals, including 325 people on parole and or probation, and 132 more people with an active history of property crime, officials say.

In the final quarter of 2016, robberies and vehicle thefts in Red Deer dropped significantly, from 64 down to 39 in the last quarter of 2015. Supt. Ken Foster, the officer in charge of the detachment, credits the change to Project Pinpoint.

"It's directing the resources where they have the highest probability of stopping crime," he said.

"And getting the bad people that are doing the crimes either back into the courts or abiding by their conditions."

At least 394 charges have been laid specific to Project Pinpoint targets during the 10-month period examined, with more pending. Another 240 warrants have been executed, Red Deer RCMP say.

'End up becoming a number'

But Mount Royal University criminologist Ritesh Narayan says targeting the same people over and over again is just a Band-Aid approach and fails to get to the root of the problem.

"They just end up becoming a number, really, that frequent the police files over and over again. It does not help them progress into life," he said.

"What they need to do is utilize and bring in more social services, social help to help these individuals, rather than putting resources into policing. Because policing these areas displace the problem rather than resolving it."

Narayan says some American cities have tried similar strategies with poor results.

Narayan and Foster agree a stronger economy would mean less crime. 

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