In 2022, Airdrie RCMP saw the second-highest amount of sex-offence-related cases in the past five years. Last year, there was a total of 123 cases, with over 50 per cent dealing with sexual assault. 2019 saw the highest amount of cases, totalling 124.
This increase in sex-related crime cases was recently noted by Inspector Lauren Weare, the Airdrie RCMP Detachment Commander during an RCMP town hall that was held last week. The increase correlates with an overall persons crime increase that Airdrie RCMP observed in 2022.
2022 saw a sharp increase in sextortion cases (225 per cent increase from 2021) which has factored into the overall rise, considering that from 2021 to 2022, sexual assaults and other sexual offences decreased.
When looking at long-term trends in Airdrie, sexual assault cases have increased since 2018, though there was a slight drop between 2021 and 2022. Other sexual assault offences have also increased since 2018 with a similar dip between 2021 and 2022.
According to previous data that the RCMP presented at a Municipal Policing Advisory Board meeting in November of last year, the Sex Crimes Unit (SCU) had been dealing with what Weare said were multiple cases of sexual misconduct, mostly through the use of social media and sextortion. The SCU unit, comprised of two members, investigated a string of indecent act occurrences. One male was charged for those occurrences and is before the courts.
More recently, in mid-January, a 26-year-old Airdrie man was arrested on suspicion of child pornography. The man, who is not being named in order to protect the victims, appeared in court on February 16. He was charged with several sexual offences, including sexual assault, sexual interference, and making child pornography among several other charges.
However, it should be noted that sexual-related crimes are some of the most under-reported crimes in Canada.
According to various reports by the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics, only six percent of sexual assaults are reported to police, making it the most underreported crime measured in the General Social Survey on Victimization."
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual offence, there are resources available to help:
- Alberta Sexual Violence - Get Help
- Alberta Health Services Calgary Sexual Assault Response Team (CSART)
- Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse (CCASA) 403-237-5888
- CONNECT Family and Sexual Abuse Network
- Calgary Police Service Victim Assistance Support Team (VAST)
- LUNA Child and Youth Advocacy Centre
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