Crime was a point of interest for local municipal government leaders in the Vital Signs 2017 Report released Tuesday. The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta released the package of statistics at Centre 2000 which included information on the City of Grande Prairie, the County of Grande Prairie, and Municipal District of Greenview. It ranged from safety and housing to sense of belonging in the community and health.
Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given points to the crimes stats as a highlight for the city. Overall crime is down 29 percent from 2015 to 2016 for Grande Prairie.
“We have made a significant investment in policing over the course of the term, which was reflected in the report, and it also shows, that is one of the top issues that people believe is facing our community. In some ways, I highlighted the areas we need to do more work. It reinforced we were doing the right work in the right places in some cases.”
Although overall crime is down for the city, there has been a 32.3 percent increase in the Youth Crime Rate and a 32.2 percent increase in Sexual Assault.
The County and MD of Greenview experienced a decrease in all categories of crime in the report including a 31.7 percent decrease in overall crime. On the top of the “10 Most Important Issues Facing My Community” list for all three municipalities was crime.
“Having our citizens maybe not recognize that we are working harder on the crime statistics was a little bit surprising,” said County Reeve Leanne Beaupre.
This is the first year the MD of Greenview was included in the package and Reeve Dale Gervais says the crime stats weren’t the only thing that caught his eye. The report noted that 41 percent of MD of Greenview respondents think the quality of the roads is a concern.
“One of the things that surprised me was that crime was the [number one concern] in the city and in the MD,” said MD of Gervais at the launch event “Another one that surprised me was the roads being a concern. The roads in the MD are great.”
CEO of CFNWA Tracey Vavrek explains that there have been significant changes in the community over the last report two years ago.
“Local Municipalities have been very strategic around their approach to crime, including an increase in police resources, and census numbers reflected a real impact with the City of Grande Prairie and County of Grande Prairie seeing an overall decrease in crime,” said Vavrek.
She explains that the report also highlights places the community can work on with the survey showing about half of the respondents were familiar with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She also pointed to low voter participation as an area of note.
The 2017 Vital Signs Report, as well as previous reports, can be found on the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta’s website.
Photo by Justine Kelsie, Vital Signs 2017 launch at Centre 2000
(Left to right, Bill Given, Tracey Vavrek, Leanne Beaupre, Dale Gervais)