Violent offences in Wetaskiwin raises crime index to #1 in Alberta

Wetaskiwin rated ‘third’ nationally in Maclean’s ‘Most Dangerous Places’

The City of Wetaskiwin will be rated in the top five spots of “Canada’s Most Dangerous Places 2019,” a feature that will appear in Maclean’s Magazine later in November, according to city staff.

Editor’s note: In a Nov. 5 online article, Maclean’s magazine stated “Wetaskiwin’s Crime Severity Index numbers peg it as the most dangerous city in Alberta—and the third most dangerous in the country.”

A press release sent out from the City of Wetaskiwin on Oct. 30 noted that, “Wetaskiwin’s annual Crime Severity Index (CSI) ranking has increased due to several high-profile violent offenses that occurred” over the past year. This increased the municipality’s ranking of eighth in 2018, to “top five” in the Maclean’s Canada’s Most Dangerous Places 2019.

City manager Dave Burgess explained that Maclean’s magazine contacted the City of Wetaskiwin with the information, which ranks communities according to the CSI. The Maclean’s methodology is a “Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime, which takes into consideration both the volume and seriousness of offences.”

Burgess was reluctant to state where exactly Wetaskiwin would measure up, as to not “preclude Maclean’s.”

“We are hesitant to say because we wouldn’t want to be wrong,” he said. “We are a few up and it’s safe to say that we are in the top five.”

Burgess attributed the crime index rise to “two homicides” that occurred in the city last year.

“This shot up our numbers in crime severity,” he said. “This could have easily happened somewhere else, but because it happened in the city, it affected the severity index.”

Despite the ranking, Burgess said community safety remains priority. Wetaskiwin city council committed additional RCMP resources in the 2018 budget. Moreover, the city stated that there was an overall decrease in crime from 2017 to 2018.

“We do not have our heads in sand on this and we want to improve the level of safety,” Burgess said.

Bruce Hinkley, NDP MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose, echoed that crime has been going down in the province but that the government has dedicated more resources to the local courts in order for cases to be presented in a timelier manner. He also said that the government has approved a grant for Wetaskiwin’s Victim Services for over $400,000 to be spread over three years.

“Ideally though we wouldn’t have to have those (grants), and the fact that they applied for funding support means it’s probably busy,” Hinkley said.

An RCMP spokesperson noted police know the public is concerned about crime. “Crime reduction is a priority for the Alberta RCMP,” said Cpl. Laurel Scott, on behalf of the RCMP.

“We acknowledge that Albertans are concerned with crime rates in their communities and we also understand that people feel vulnerable and frustrated,” she said.

“Our intelligence-led and focused crime reduction strategy allows us to proactively intervene, reducing calls for service and easing some of the pressures front line members face so that they can focus on operational duties; keeping our communities safe,” Cpl. Scott added.

Calls were made to Wetaskiwin RCMP but no one was available to provide local comment before press deadline.

By Jessica Jones, for the Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer
City of Wetaskiwin cases rapidly climbing

City of Wetaskiwin reporting 11 active cases of COVID-19

Photo submitted/ Rita-anne Fuss
Distancing Diamond Project in Millet for mental health

Distancing Diamonds allow for social distancing community gathering.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

The death of 19-year-old Jacob Michael Chitze of Edmonton has now been ruled a homicide following an ongoing RCMP investigation.
UPDATE: RCMP arrest youth for second degree murder of 19-year-old Jacob Chitze

Arrest made for the murder of Jacob Michael Chitze, 19.

Pumpkins for the 46th Annual WDACS Pumpkin Ball on display at Vision Credit Union Wetaskiwin. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
46th Annual Pumpkin Ball held virtually this year

This year the pumpkins were sold over a six-day online auction.

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join AUPE walk outs across the province Monday Oct. 26, 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin health-care workers strike in protest of province-wide cuts

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join other front line hospital workers across the province in walk-outs.

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

(Black Press file photo)
Maskwacis RCMP welcomes new detachment commander

The Maskwacis RCMP detachment has a new detachment commander, Inspector Leanne MacMillan.… Continue reading

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

Most Read