The Alberta RCMP are launching a new Community Safety and Well Being Branch.
The new branch involves a restructuring of the force, with the intention of improving the overall safety and wellness of communities across the province.
Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki, says they're working on a more coordinated approach with health and social agencies.
"Reducing crime doesn't necessarily come as a result of arresting and incarcerating people. Many Albertans have seen first hand that this approach doesn't work. Repeat offenders are often released soon after arrest, returning to the very communities they have been committing crimes in," Zablocki says. "There are root causes to some of this behaviour and while there are no simple solutions to address them all there are many solutions we can work toward that will mean tangible positive impacts to community safety."
He says while those who commit crimes need to be held accountable, communities don't see long lasting crime reduction without recognizing the social issues, like addiction, mental health struggles and homelessness, are at the root of the issue.
Chief Superintendent Peter Tewfik is the officer-in-charge of the new Community Safety and Well-Being Branch.
He says they're partnering with addictions, health, income assistance and employment to stop offenders from continuing with criminal activity.
Tewfik says a study shows a 32 per cent reduction in recidivism with those offenders who chose to work with them.
Zablocki says this approach came out of discussions with Albertans.