Cold Lake have responded to the Macleans report which ranked the city as the 15th most dangerous place in Canada.
Sgt. Ryan Howrish said in an email to Lakeland Connect that he’s worked in Cold Lake for six years and has “not seen a notable increase in crime,” and believes that the amount of reported and solved cases contribute to that ranking.
“Statistically, the numbers of persons and property crime have remained relatively consistent over the past years,” he said in the email.
“The Maclean’s magazine article highlights cocaine trafficking in Cold Lake as 10 times the national average. This has had a huge impact on the Crime Severity Index and our standing amongst other communities. We believe this to be a result of the hard work of members of the Cold Lake Detachment and our focus on the illegal drug trade in our community.”
The Macleans ranking released on Tuesday, tracks the five-year change in crime severity, ranks communities by total crime and for specific offenses.
Cold Lake ranked 15th in all crime, 6th in the five-year change of crime, and 23rd in violent crime severity.
They ranked 4th in cocaine trafficking.
In December 2015, Cold Lake RCMP General Investigations Section changed its mandate to focus on the illegal drug trade in Cold Lake and its surrounding area.
Since then, they’ve seen more results, notes Sgt. Howrish.
“Over 70 individuals have been charged. From those 70 charged individuals, 64 were charged with trafficking cocaine and six charged with trafficking other illegal drugs including fentanyl.
“The investigations also led to numerous search warrant executions at multiple properties resulting in 38 charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine, 24 charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking other illegal drugs, and 265 charges from the Controlled Drug and Substances Act and the criminal code.
“Large quantities of illegal drugs, restricted and prohibited firearms, and proceeds of crime have been seized. In total, convicted individuals have been sentenced to over 41 years in jail. 37 charged individuals are still involved in court proceedings.
“I continue to believe that Cold Lake is a safe and beautiful place to live and raise a family,” said Sgt. Howrish.