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Conversation on Crime and Safety with EPS

WATCH as Councillor Bev Esslinger invites EPS Police Chief Dale McFee and a panel of guests to address concerns about crime in Ward 2. Here is the full link for the video. https://www.facebook.com/bevesslingeryeg/videos/1443332129382726

This Facebook video was recorded on April 29, 2021. It addresses many of the ongoing issues we are seeing in Griesbach – yet are prevalent throughout the City. According to Chief McFee, the level of frustration in the community is quite high. He said Edmonton has been in the top 3 cities in Canada for the highest crime rates for over 10+ years, but last year the city witnessed its largest overall drop in crime in 15 years (a 17% reduction). McFee attributes this to new actions and strategies, vs. any correlation with the pandemic. He noted that some crimes such as domestic violence have unfortunately increased due to the social pressures related to Covid-19.

The panel addressed the concern of criminals checking unlocked car doors. Over the last year there has been a 43% reduction in this form of theft in Ward 2. Police Inspector Derek McIntyre said it is largely due to the fact people are listening to advice to always remove valuables, ensure the car is locked, and parking in garages when possible.

It was also shared that EPS recently apprehended key individuals who have been involved in the theft of catalytic converters. This is expected to significantly reduce this costly crime.

Panelists stressed that it is crucial for residents to report any crime. This ensures crime is not overlooked, so that police resources can be properly allocated. There is a helpful City of Edmonton resource called the Neighbourhood Response Guide. It explains which numbers to call to report various types of crime (also posted on the Neighbourhood Watch section the Griesbach Community League website).

The issue of personal safety was also addressed. The panelists said many people have a fear of their personal safety. Superintendent McIntyre said that Edmonton is an extremely safe city, particularly in public spaces. As in any big city must be aware of their surroundings and being vigilant in preventing crimes of opportunity. The police are involved in partnerships to address issues of concerns in certain areas of concern (eg. transit safety).

One interesting question posed to the panel was whether or not community social media channels can have the effect of stoking fear of crime by overemphasizing the impacts (26:04). Chief McFee said that Facebook groups provide a positive forum sharing awareness so residents can identify if there is a problem in their areas and take preventative action. He emphasized the importance of taking the step to actually report any crimes to police, and not just share on social media.

In some cases, he observed that lack of context and inaccurate reporting on social media can snowball. Speculation can unintentionally raise widespread fear. He cited a recent isolated incident involving a fight at a Ward 2 school as an example (28:02). Chief McFee took time to share the facts in the case and clear up some of the misconceptions around this incident and explain the role adults must play to avoid unnecessarily traumatizing our children.

We encourage you to watch the whole video to learn more. It covers a number of topics that are of great interest to Griesbach residents. We thank Councillor Esslinger for bringing the panel together.