Alberta’s Rural Crime Reduction Program was launched by the RCMP in March of 2017 with the establishment of four units across the province. To use resources as effectively as possible it concentrated on identifying and arresting repeat offenders. The program has produced positive results and rural property crime decreased by approximately 10% in each of 2017 and 2018.
In February 2019, the Alberta RCMP and Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley announced a new program called Project Lock Up. It is described by the RCMP as “a new victim-focused initiative that brings law enforcement agencies and citizen-led crime prevention groups together to provide an enhanced and escalating response to Albertans who have been hit hardest by break and enters.” It has four key components:
- More patrols in the hardest-hit places.
- Enhanced victim support.
- Additional tools for repeat victims.
- Enhanced investigative response.
The RCMP and groups like Rural Crime Watch augment the law enforcement programs with several points of advice for rural residents:
- Carry debit and credit cards in an aluminum case or RFID protected wallet and shield your PIN when using your card in a public place.
- Lock your vehicles: Take the keys out of your vehicle and lock it even when you are absent for only a few minutes. Stow valuables out of sight.
- Develop a lock up routine. A check list can be a reminder to lock or secure your garage, shop, barn and vehicles. Have a yard light on at night and/or use lights with motion sensors.
- Take care of your keys. Do not leave them on a convenient shelf by the door where they could be the first item that a thief would grab. Do not label your keys; instead use a colour code or numbering system known only to you and your family.
- Stay alert and report suspicious activity to the RCMP. Write down as much detail as possible or use the voice memo feature on your phone to record a licence number or other information.