The Red Deer RCMP released the crime statistics for the second quarter of 2019 at Monday’s city council meeting.

Total criminal code offences are up 20 per cent for January to June of this year compared to the same time in 2018, property crime is up 26 per cent is comparison to this point in 2018 and theft of vehicles is up nearly 61 per cent from last year.

Police say this is due in part to historically low numbers in 2018 and a very busy first three months in 2019.

“We had a significant increase in the first quarter. We did not have that same increase for quarter two, it actually slowed down quite a bit. In June we actually saw a reduction in break and enters and theft from motor vehicles to extremely low numbers,” said RCMP Superintendent Gerald Grobmeier.

Criminal code offences for the second quarter were seven per cent lower than for quarter one, while property crime was 15 per cent lower in quarter two in comparison to quarter one.

Police say the increase in the first quarter is due to a number of reasons including a severely cold winter.

“The theft of motor vehicles, we saw a significant spike and it was of no surprise to anybody in the detachment or our analysts. When we have cold weather, the number of vehicles that are stolen increases. People continue to leave their vehicles running with keys in it and approximately half of vehicles stolen in winter time are with vehicles running,” said Grobmeier.

“With that extreme cold weather we had, I think it was over four weeks, we saw a significant rise. I was certainly expecting a rise, I didn’t think it was going to be quite that much but that’s a major result of that cold weather.”

Another reason, according to Grobmeier, is more people calling to report crime.

“When people are comfortable with their police force, that if they call in they will be heard and something will be done or at least the data will be taken to be analyzed then people will call in. If they’re calling in more now this year than they were last year then your numbers go up certainly.”

According to the RCMP, they received 27,163 calls in the first half of this year, while in 2018 there were 24,587 calls by June.

The city also released its Citizen Satisfaction Survey results on Monday. Satisfaction with the RCMP was down from 82 per cent in 2018 to 79 per cent in 2019. Resident’s satisfaction with RCMP has been sliding since 2016 and this is the lowest satisfaction rating since the surveys began in 2006.

“It’s certainly disappointing. When you drop your Crime Severity Index by over 23 per cent from 2018 in comparison to 2017. That’s a reason to celebrate, those are numbers that don’t happen,” said Grobmeier. “It was exceptional what we were able to accomplish last year and it was disheartening to hear people still continuing to talk about the crime trends going up and out of control when the stats showed the exact opposite.”

The RCMP noted that their new initiatives such as the security camera registry CAPTURE (Community Assisted Policing Through Use of Recorded Evidence), the #9PMRoutine, the online crime map and the bicycle registry have been working towards preventing crime.

“With the work that we were able to accomplish in the last year and a half, two years and the efforts we have put in, and the shift we have made within Red Deer; going from a completely reactive police force to one that’s extremely proactive, data intelligence lead... Those are things we should be celebrating.”