Alberta's provincial government is introducing a new team to combat crime in Southern Alberta.

The new team is an expansion to the Alberta Sheriff's Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit.

SCAN investigates problem properties based on reports from members of the public, with authority from the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act. The kinds of illegal activity addressed by SCAN include drug trafficking, gang activity, and prostitution.

Public Safety and Emergency Services Minister Mike Ellis says the need for a specific Southern Alberta team is evident.

"Between 2019 and 2023, the SCAN unit in Calgary investigated 363 properties in Lethbridge, which is about 20 per cent of its caseload during that period. In addition, there has been a significant increase in complaints from Medicine Hat and other Southern Alberta communities, emphasizing the need for increased law enforcement efforts in the region."

He says the new team will be based in Lethbridge, but will cover a wide region.

"This is a new regional team that will cover an area roughly bounded by Vulcan to the north, Crowsnest Pass to the west, the U.S. border to the south, and provincial boundary with Saskatchewan to the east."

According to Ellis, SCAN has investigated over 8,000 properties since its creation in 2008.

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, HighRiverOnline and OkotoksOnline encourage you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the HighRiverOnline or OkotoksOnline app.