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RCMP urge Calling Lake residents to report crime as thefts rise

RCMP are telling residents to keep reporting crimes so it can get them more help as a northern Alberta community weathers a crime wave.

Officials from the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17 are meeting with homeowners, Mounties and local MLA Scott Sinclair on Wednesday to address the rise in criminal activity.

Data from the RCMP shows break-and-enters in the municipal district are up 83 per cent this year from last, while car thefts have climbed almost 160 per cent.

Reeve Marshall Auger told CTV News Edmonton on Friday the rise in criminal activity is centred around the hamlet of Calling Lake.

Resident Mona Gladue says crime wasn't this bad before in the community 190 kilometres north of Edmonton.

"Growing up in Calling Lake, the crime was petty, one break-and-enter. That was it. And now, everything's kind of changed," said Gladue.

"I have cameras all over my yard and in my house, and I never lived like this growing up," Gladue told CTV News Edmonton. "Now, you basically need cameras, and I'm not even going to buy a quad because what's the point? I can't even have that luxury of owning a quad or owning a motorbike. I don't want to have someone come into my into my yard thinking they could just steal."

Marnie Langford, who lives south of Calling Lake, says her home has been broken into seven times in the past four years. She's even run into a would-be thief while at home surrounded by her four dogs.

"It still brings tears to my eyes. I shouldn't have had to threaten to turn my dog on somebody to keep my truck and my belongings safe on my own property," said Langford, who lives full time at the cabin which was built for summer use.

"We weren't supposed to be living here, but in the wintertime is when they hit us the hardest, so we make sure someone lives here year-round. It was a little chilly when the wind chill was -52 C last winter in a summertime cabin."

Langford says surveillance video that she records shows thieves taking items such as crossbows, quads, construction equipment and clothing -- "just normal things you need every day."

"Then you go looking for it and it's not there ... a certain tool you need once in a blue moon and you go to get it and it's not there," she said.

RCMP Corp. Mathew Howell says more officers are now on patrol in the community and encourages people to contact police when they witness crime.

"I know some people may have lost faith in policing and not bothered calling, but the more calls that come in, the more things are reported, the easier it is afterwards to justify extra resources," said Howell, an Alberta RCMP public information officer.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Miriam Valdes-Carletti Top Stories

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