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Lac La Biche talks rural crime in public forum

Lac La Biche county recently held a public forum regarding rural crime in the area. About 30 members of the public were on hand to hear from local politicians, police and First Nations reps and voice concerns and ideas for keeping the county safe. Fort McMurray – Cold Lake MP David Yurdiga was in attendance and noted that the spike in rural crime has caused a task force to be formed with other rural MPs.

Lac La Biche County Mayor Omer Moghrabi says lots was learned from the sharing of viewpoints.

“We learned there is a tremendous frustration by a lot of our residents. There’s some radical type of thinking. You can’t take the law into your own hands.”

Moghrabi says he thinks some of the problem may stem from those arrested being out in the communities too quickly.

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“There’s a very small percentage of people that are doing the crime. The problem is a catch-and-release, if you want to call it. That’s one of the issues where a lot of people are put right back on the street.”

Moghrabi commends the provinces $10 million commitment to more RCMP officers and Crown prosecutors, and says Lac La Biche County will see some upgrades in law enforcement soon.

“We’re paying for two enhanced RCMP (officers), We’re paying for a school resource worker and we’re also looking at upgrading a couple of our peace officers to level one (certification).”

In 2017-18, Alberta invested more than half a billion dollars into policing, which includes 1,560 officer positions in rural Alberta.

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