RCMP step up fight against rural crime

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INNISFAIL – RCMP have taken a major step towards reducing crime in Central Alberta, including the Innisfail area.

Staff Sgt. Mark Groves, detachment commander of the Rocky Mountain House RCMP, was temporarily reassigned last week as the new District Advisory Non-Commissioned Officer for the Central Alberta District.

The length of his tenure is unknown at this time.

In his new role, Groves will oversee and assist detachment commanders in Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake, Rimbey, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House and Innisfail.

“We’re looking at bringing strategies to the Innisfail area that have been successful in other detachment areas,” said Groves. “Any programs or strategies that have been implemented elsewhere that were highly successful, if they haven’t been tried in Innisfail then we’ll look at trying to implement those over the next little while.”

One of Groves’ new assignments is to work towards implementing a crime reduction plan, focusing on the rural areas outside of Red Deer.

That plan includes crime prevention initiatives.

“Crime reduction doesn’t fall all on the police. It’s a collaborative effort with the community as well like crime prevention,” he said.

“We’re looking at putting together a team that will be comprised of highly trained experts in the way of surveillance, as well as enabling them to do search warrants and to track and monitor chronic, habitual offenders,” explained Groves. “If we target the five or six per cent who are committing 50 per cent of the crimes, we’ll see a reduction.”

Groves said he will be assisting Innisfail’s detachment commander, Staff Sgt. Chris Matechuk, who was not immediately available for comment.

“I’ll be giving him support and do whatever I can to help make his workload more manageable,” said Groves.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Mark Groves

“We’re looking at bringing strategies to the Innisfail area that have been successful in other detachment areas.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.