Sexual assault reports increased in Wetaskiwin in 2023

The City of Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment John Spaans presented the Q3 crime stats for the City at the regular council meeting on Monday, Feb. 26.

According to the data he presented at the meeting, sexual assaults had the highest increase in the city last year.

According to Spaans, there were 55 reports of such incidents last year.

Spaans explained to council police are still trying to figure out why that particular crime is spiking in the city.

“For whatever reason, we’ve skyrocketed in sexual assault reports. We have to dive further into why that’s the case,” Spaans said.

Spaans explained in the majority of sexual assaults, the parties were known to each other, and they were not random attacks.

Spaans mentioned that in 2022, they had only 35 reports of sexual assaults.

He added that in most cases, the sexual assaults were committed by adults over 18.

In the meantime, Spaans said that spousal abuse decreased by 15 percent last year in the city.

But he noted that the current number was still “staggering”.

“In 2022, we have 522 spouse instances. That’s from verbal arguments to assaults. This year, we are down to 451 or 1.2 calls for domestic abuse per day,” he said.

According to Spaans’ stats, the number of domestic violence reports was still higher compared to neighboring areas such as Camrose, mainly due to the higher number of populations in Wetaskiwin.

A total of 368 cases of assaults were recorded in 2023 in Wetaskiwin alone.

Meanwhile, Spaans mentioned that there were 223 instances of break-and-enter in 2023, compared to 246 break-ins the previous year – which is a 10 per cent decrease.

According to Spaans, southeast areas of the city and downtown toward the north have seen most of these crimes.

He added that storage units in these areas have been the primary targets.

As per the stats, mischief tops the list of top 10 crimes of 2023 with 1,517 calls to service.

Following that, suspicious persons/vehicles/property stood second with 457 counts, and disturbing the peace with 422 counts was the third most committed crime in the city.

RCMP had also recorded 221 collisions in Wetaskiwin the previous year. Only one alcohol-related suspicion was issued that year, according to RCMP.

Qiam Noori, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ponoka News