Skip to content

Athabasca RCMP debut 2024 focus areas

Persons and property crime up compared to 2023 Q4
Staff Sgt. Mark Hall
Athabasca RCMP Staff Sgt. Mark Hall

ATHABASCA—The Athabasca RCMP detachment presented its two new priority fields for 2024 to town councillors following a fourth quarter that saw persons and property crime rise from the previous year.

Staff Sgt. Mark Hall provided his quarterly update for the Town of Athabasca councillors, which included a breakdown of the RCMP’s January to March quarter. Each year RCMP detachments pick two priorities to focus on – for Athabasca, 2024’s priorities are substance abuse, and intelligence-led policing.

“We’ve made a lot of headway with a lot of different issues within the community, and we made some significant impacts getting some offenders off the streets and drugs off the streets,” said Hall.

Community engagement will be a big part of both strategies for the local Mounties.

Drug talks with students at Aspen View schools across the area remain a priority for the members, and Hall said he’ll be holding more town halls throughout the year.

The numbers

Athabasca responded to 264 criminal code offences between January and March, 10 more than in 2023. Persons crime went up to 15 per cent, going from 47 cases in 2023 to 54 cases in 2024, and property crime went up six per cent, with 147 cases in 2024 compared to 139 the year prior.

The most common call the Mounties received was for suspicious people or vehicles (36), followed by non-moving/moving occurrences (27). Mischief (25), wellness checks (25), and speeding (20) rounded out the top five list for the detachment, which responded to 370 calls, including false alarms, in the final quarter.

“It was a fairly decent quarter,” said Hall, who added the detachment was currently working on six drug-related investigations.

Assault files were another repeat offence for Hall’s detachment, with 17 in the late winter months. Hall said all 17 cases involved people who were known to each other and stressed that they weren’t random attacks. Sexual assaults were the highest in Q4 since 2020, with seven being reported to the police between January and March.

Breaking and entering remains the most common property-related offence, with files increasing by 48 per cent in 2024’s Q4, followed by theft under $5,000 and mischief causing damage to property. There were 147 property files in 2024’s first three months, eight more than in 2023, but still down significantly since the five-year peak of 239 in 2020.

“There’s been a significant uptick in property crime over that we’ve had to address over our entire attachment area,” said Hall. “Although this quarter lacked drug-related arrests and seizures, this underscores our proactive and preventative approach towards drug-related issues rather than reactive enforcement.”

The Athabasca detachment is in the middle of restocking its officers following a series of winter transfers to other areas. A new corporal started May 8, and Hall said a new cadet — a new RCMP officer in their first posting — would be starting the week after.

The detachment also has a full group of administrative staff, although it is missing Victim Services staff following a transfer. Hall said he is expecting three people to be hired into the detachment to help compensate for the shortage. Currently, members of the Lac La Biche Victim Services department are coming into Athabasca three days a week to help cover the shortage.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks