Despite a year-over-year increase in total Criminal Code Offenses (2022 to 2023), Airdrie/ Beiseker RCMP Detachment Commander, Insp. Lauren Weare said that the five-year trend has shown that Airdrie's crime has diminished. 

The statistics were presented during Wednesday evening's policing town hall, in which members of the local RCMP and Municipal Enforcement, along with city council were to meet with members of the public to discuss community safety initiatives and other matters relating to public safety.

Key statistics 

adaDuring Wednesday evening's policing Community Town Hall, Airdrie RCMP presented statistics relating the the municapl crime gauge. (Graphic credit to Airdrie RCMP)

"The crime gauge does look rather intimidating with the red and that is because it is only comparing this year over last year. The five-year trend shows that we have an overall 9 per cent reduction in total criminal code violations as compared to 2019," Insp. Weare noted. "Increases in person's crime; [these] are driven by increases in extortion. Sextortion is a significant trend as well as assaults."

Insp. Weare added that the increase in property crimes which has increased by 49 per cent, has been attributed to a majority of break-and-enters that deal with attached garages. Though she could not provide great detail, Insp. Weare did allude to the fact that there is a potential suspect in mind.

"We feel this person is responsible for the bulk of the garages [that] are being accessed; they are either being left open - it's sort of a crime of opportunity," she explained. "This particular subject's M.O. [Modus Operandi] is to drive around and see those sorts of opportunities where the garage is open; and also the opportunity for unlocked vehicles that have the remotes. They will take the remotes and they will come back later and pop into the garage and help themselves." 

adadaDuring Wednesday evening's policing Community Town Hall, Airdrie RCMP presented statistics relating to overall crime trends in the city. (Graphic credit to Airdrie RCMP)

As per the national trend, Airdrie's crime trends fell during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"...And we are now in the middle of rebounding back to pre-pandemic numbers," Weare underlined.

Statistics also showed that domestic violence occurrences decreased by 10 per cent in 2023, when compared to 2022. 

adadadaDuring Wednesday evening's policing Community Town Hall, Airdrie RCMP presented statistics relating to domestic violence in Airdrie. (Graphic credit to Airdrie RCMP)

Mental health-related calls have notably increased. According to the numbers presented, mental health occurrence calls spiked by 16 per cent in 2023 when compared to 2022.

meDuring Wednesday evening's policing Community Town Hall, Airdrie RCMP presented statistics relating to mental health occurrences in Airdrie. (Graphic credit to Airdrie RCMP)

"...and increased 17 per cent in 2023, as compared to 2019. Those are the calls for service that are increasing and the amount of time spent on mental health calls are higher; [those calls] take the longest amount of time for the officers to deal with."

Airdrie's Municipal Enforcement also presented statistics, including what the most common type of calls are for the city's M.E. officers. In general, most common bylaw complaints are found within the Community Standards Bylaw, such as unsightly complaint(s), as well as parking complaints.

adadadadaDuring Wednesday evening's policing Community Town Hall, City Municipal Enforcement presented statistics related to what type of calls are the most common for officers to respond to. (Graphic credit to Airdrie Municipal Enforcement)

Lynn Mackenzie, Manager for Municipal Enforcement and RCMP Support Services stated that all of the city's M.E. officers are currently able to enforce the provincial Traffic Safety Act.

adawaDuring Wednesday evening's policing Community Town Hall, City Municipal Enforcement presented statistics related to traffic enforcement. (Graphic credit to Airdrie Municipal Enforcement)

"The third priority area is animal control and officers utilize both municipal legislation under the Animal Control Bylaw and the provincial legislation under the Animal Protection Act," she said. "The Animal Control bylaw outlines the minimum standards on how animals must be kept in the city of Airdrie and the APA, the provincial legislation, outlines how animals must be cared for in our province."

This year's town hall did not garner much in-person participation. It is estimated that less than two dozen people were present at the town hall at city council chambers. Despite the small turnout, numerous questions were submitted via email with several more being asked by residents who attended. 

Traffic concerns and vehicle noise

A recurring theme of past town halls has been traffic-related. One question posed was whether a larger police presence on Veterans Boulevard might deter loud vehicles. Bryan Rayner, Team Leader, of Airdrie Municipal Enforcement stated that it is a multi-faceted approach that is being handled by both M.E. and RCMP.

"Over the last year, we've invested in some technology to better monitor the sounds, allowing us to do some better enforcement. Last year, we did Amnesty Education type days and it was fairly well attended," he said. "A lot of people did use it as an opportunity to do some abatement."

He announced that next month another Traffic Amnesty Day will be hosted. 

Mayor Peter Brown also interjected to ask for clarification when it comes to red-light cameras. Mackenzie stated that there is a province-wide freeze on red-light cameras, as well as any other automatic traffic safety devices. However, she did say that M.E. officers do use in-car digital cameras for infractions.

"We've written 15 tickets for red lights, and five for yellow; it is challenging because obviously, we're a marked patrol," Rayner added. "People see us [and] they drive properly."

He added that there is something called 'tattletale lights' which M.E. officers may be looking into as a business case.

"It allows an officer to sit perpendicular to the actual light, and have an indication when that light turns red. He can be hidden," Rayner explained.

However, he underlined that this kind of technology is still in its infancy and there are only a few law enforcement agencies that use it Stateside.

"It's something we're going to look into, to see if it is a tool that we can use. The biggest issue is, how do we stay out of sight, [to]be able to see the infraction, get the evidence and be able to present it in court."

Questions continue around the potential of a provincial police force 

Several residents posed questions about a provincial police force, in light of the province announcing The Public Safety Statutes Amendment Act, 2024, earlier this month.

The announcement enumerated that the province would be setting up a new organization that would work alongside police services across the province.

"Officers in the new agency would take on responsibility for police-like functions currently carried out by the Alberta Sheriffs," according to a provincial news release. "The new agency would be operationally independent from the government, as all Alberta’s police services are now."

However, Mike Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services, underscored that the amendment is not meant to create a provincial police service in replace of the RCMP. The City's Director of Community Growth and Protective Services, Kevin Weinberger, explained that the additional funding for Alberta Sheriffs is meant to bring the organization up to be able to the policing level.

"...So they can do everything without having to work side by side with the police for certain acts and to say provide Criminal Code Offence type work. How will it affect Airdrie? We're not sure right now, because the Sheriffs, work under that provincial guise, work highways and rural [areas]."  

Insp. Weare added that she too understood the provincial announcement as such.

"At this point or time, it's in the development phase. Certainly, our Commanding Officer and division are working closely with the Government of Alberta, so that whatever integration occurs; whatever enhancements come with the increase of the scope of their duties," she said. "I don't anticipate that it would come into municipalities. I don't think that is what the intention is at this particular time."

Use-of-force and resource allocation?

DiscoverAirdrie also posed several questions for the town hall, including the RCMP's current use-of-force policy, as well as resource allocation. Sergeant Mike Zink said that in terms of the RCMP's use-of-force policy, it is taken with the utmost seriousness.

"Police use-of-force approaches and methods are often a topic of public debate and public accountability is an important element in the use-of-force decisions made by RCMP officers," he stated.

According to Sgt. Zink, the RCMP has established a national use-of-force unit, at the headquarters in Ottawa, there are use-of-force coordinators in each division or province.

"Use-of-force policies are developed at the national level, which guides officers across the country, along with the Criminal Code of Canada. It is important to note that all new cadets at the RCMP Academy receive significant use-of-force training through classroom and after graduating and leaving Depo, all RCMP officers are mandated to certify annually in areas of use of force."

He added that every three years, RCMP officers are mandated to update their operational skills maintenance, which consists of a five-day refresher and training at the national training center in Regina.

"We're very fortunate here in Airdrie to, have multiple use-of-force instructors, which we leverage regularly to ensure our members are up to date on their mandatory and extra training. In some cases, when the use of force is used, there are mandatory reporting and supervisory reviews that must take place." 

In terms of how Mounties are trained in de-escalation, Sgt. Zink said that this area has seen significant development within the ranks of the RCMP.

"In April 2021, the RCMP updated the annual use-of-force recertification training to place more emphasis on communication and crisis, intervention and de-escalation," he said. "Crisis intervention and de-escalation provide police with the tools that can often be used instead of physical intervention."

Sgt. Zink said that because Airdrie has seen a significant increase in mental health-related calls, this has spurred the community policing unit within the Airdrie detachment to work with partners, such as the local school division in the areas of restorative justice and mediation.

He also announced that there will be significant equipment upgrades Airdrie Mounties will be receiving shortly, including body-worn cameras.  

"We've worked very hard to ready our detachment in the I.T. area and I'm led to believe that we will be at the forefront throughout the country, and will be one of the first ones to receive them, once they're deployed. The management team that you see here today is committed to providing the tools and knowledge to the members to supply the highest level of service to Airdrie."

Insp. Weare noted that when it comes to resource allocation, that is determined by emerging crime trends, which in part can be seen in the Crime Severity Index (CSI).

"The crime Severity Index tracks changes in the severity of police-reported crime by accounting for both the amount of crime reported to the police in any given jurisdiction and the relative seriousness of the crime," she explained. "It tells us not only how much crime is coming to the attention of the police, but also the seriousness of that crime."

Insp. Weare noted that the blending of the Domestic Violence Unit and the Sex Crimes Unit, into one special investigative unit is a testament to the intelligence-based policing model.

"[When] we had an emergence of sex crimes that were being reported, we ran a pilot, and then we determined that a lot of our sex crimes were youth were involved, either as victims or as suspects. There were very few stranger offenders," she added. 

One of the last questions posed by residents was about what Airdronians can do to positively impact safety in the city.

"[I] don't want to it sound cliche, but we are a community that needs everyone to look out," Cpl. James McConnell of the Community Policing Unit stated. "We don't know what the problem is if people don't tell us. I think being vigilant in not only communicating with the people that are here but also with your neighbours."

Cpl. McConnell underlined that while social media can be a helpful tool, it may not always be the most appropriate avenue for information.

"I think that those community forums are great because we've also had tremendous success with communities sharing information, but we just want to make sure that the information that is shared online is factual. So, I think all of those things are going to kind of help make the community safer."

Insp. Weare added that years ago when Airdrie was a smaller community, everyone knew everyone.

"I think one of the things that a lot of us do, is we think we shouldn't call because we don't want to bother people. We would much rather receive a call...We would rather you call," she concluded.

Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to You can also message and follow us on Twitter: @AIR1061FM

DiscoverAirdrie encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverAirdrie app. For breaking news, weather and contest alerts click here.