HotspotSummer is a new social media program for the RCMP

The Alberta RCMP is developing a social media campaign to help tackle rural crime this summer.

Alberta RCMP members are shining a light on common crimes happening in detachment areas across the province this summer and hope to help Albertans protect themselves and their property through #HotSpotSummerAB.

Through the campaign, Alberta RCMP social media followers can see what types of crimes are common in their area and get tips on how to deter would-be thieves. Through the Alberta RCMP app, individuals can explore the interactive crime map. The crime map lists crime reports and highlights the types of crimes that have taken place. Crime reporting is important because these reports tell the RCMP where crime hotspots are and influence future patrols and policing initiatives, said Carolyn McTighe, spokesperson for the RCMP’s HotSpotSummer campaign.

Albertans are encouraged to report any crime through the Online Crime Reporting Platform or to their local detachment.

This year, the RCMP has seen an increase in auto thefts in the Blackfalds, Fort Vermilion, High River and Vegreville detachments, McTighe said.

“Police are adapting their approach to include targeted patrols in these areas,” she said, adding that residents can help bring the numbers down by making it harder for criminals to find opportunities. “Make sure your vehicles are locked and the keys are not in the ignition, even if you’re gone for 30 seconds.”

This year, motor vehicle thefts are rampant in the Brooks, Edson, Killam and Ponoka detachment areas.

“We know no one asks to be a victim of crime. Let’s work together to deter would-be criminals. Always remove all valuables from inside your car, including wallets, change, sunglasses and keys,” she said.

Leaving items like tools and toys in yards makes it easy for thieves to take what they want, McTighe said, pointing to a recent increase in thefts under $5,000 reported this year at Cold Lake detachments, Hanna, Leduc and Valleyview.

“These areas need to be especially alert to what happens to passing thieves,” she said.

Ryan H. Bowman