Making in appearance just outside Edmonton yesterday, UCP leader Jason Kenney announced a plan to fight rural crime.

He outlined a 15 point plan which would see $30 million invested in order to address what he called a "crime wave."

Kenney says an emphasis would be put on repeat offenders.

"Most of the property crimes are committed by a relatively small number of high volume repeat offenders, and too often when they're being brought up on charges, the prosecutor in one area, or the police, or the judge may not be aware of their full history, and we want to make sure that all of that is put before the prosecutors and police to really target the hardcore repeat offenders."

He says the UCP would also make an effort to prevent the prosecution of property owners who have used reasonable force to protect themselves, using the case of Foothills resident Eddie Maurice as an example.

"We want to make sure that prosecutors don't end up charging people like they did down in High River. They ended up charging somebody for defending their farm who used reasonable force. It went to court, the prosecutors realized they were not gonna get a conviction. Why would you turn up somebody's life for having done what they had to do reasonably to defend themselves, their life, and their property, and then you end up victimizing the victim."

The plan would also introduce an Alberta Parole Board in order to deal with offenders sentenced to under two years in jail.

Recent rural crime strategies, including one here in the Foothills, have seen success in the past year, namely 480 fewer homes broken into, almost 3500 fewer thefts, over 1200 fewer vehicles stolen, and an overall 10% drop in property crime in 2018, according to Curtis Zablocki, Commanding Officer of the Alberta RCMP.

When asked by a member of the press about the decreases from 2017 and 2018, Kenney called them "a small decrease after a huge increase," citing increases from 2014 and 2015.

In response to the announcement, Premier Rachel Notley cited a rural crime strategy which the UCP voted against that would introduce, to name a few, 59 RCMP officers, 20 crown prosecutors, 40 new RCMP civilian personnel, and 4 provincial court judges.


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