Crime numbers continue to go up in Cold Lake.
Cold Lake RCMP presented the reported crimes from July, August and September to city council on Tuesday.
Police received 700 more calls in 2019 than in 2018 during the same period, while 44 assaults, 36 break and enters, 349 mischief calls, and 123 theft under $5000 cases were reported by RCMP in that span.
“I think everybody in the area knows that crime is been going up,” said Mayor Craig Copeland on The Morning After.
“We went down to the rural crime talk that was done in St. Paul. It was packed down there. Certainly the stories from the residents in that area was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ It just speaks to the fact that the system is broken. It’s so easy to commit crime. A lot of it is drug-related. We’ve got a big meth problem in the area, throughout the country really, but certainly, in our area, it is part of the problem,” he said.
Many of the reported mischief calls were related to the same few individuals, leading prompts for change from Copeland.
“The RCMP was telling us almost 400 of the calls are related to five individuals. There’s something in the system that needs to be fixed. And certainly, the courts are not putting people away for a long period of time unless they commit some serious crime,” he said.
“We have an issue where repeat offenders – there’s no justice for just even minor incidents. I think it speaks about the sentencing. Our council’s always talked about that there’s an issue that needs to be tougher penalties.
“Back in the day, there were provincial remand centers, more community remand centers in your area. Now everybody is shipped off to Fort Saskatchewan or Edmonton, and I think there needs to be somewhere in your communities in the Lakeland area, a site for people to be housed for a short duration. Just releasing them right at the courthouse is just not the answer.”
Since April, there have been 91 reported assaults, 87 break and enters, 693 mischief calls, and 243 cases of theft under $5000.