The number of violent crimes has decreased during the first six months of 2021, but Prince Albert Police Chief Jon Bergen said officers continue to respond to a high rate of calls for service.
The Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) issued a press release on Wednesday updating residents on their work addressing and responding to incidents of violent crime following several recent reports involving firearms and six homicides in 2021.
The majority of calls involving violent crime involved physical force (226), knives (68), and threats of violence (49). Police have responded to 36 incidents in 2021 involving a firearm and 34 involving bear spray. The number of incidents involving violent crime to the end of June is 560, a 5.41 per cent decrease from 592 to this same time in 2020.
The police service has responded to 22,150 calls for service to the end of June 2021, a slight decrease of .57 per cent over 2020.
Bergen offered his condolences to those who have lost family members and those who have been injured due to recent violence in Prince Albert.
“Tragically, numerous families have been faced with pain and loss as a result of violence in our community,” Bergen said in the release.
“In many of these cases, the incidents are the result of gang activity and the victims and suspects are known to each other and known to police. These incidents put everyone in our community at risk and the police service continues to focus on ways to proactively address crime and prevent violence to help keep residents safe.”
The police service continues to use a multi-level approach to address illegal gang and gun activity in the city. Members with the Crime Reduction Team (CRT), Street Enforcement Team (SET) and Prince Albert Integrated Intelligence Unit (PAIIU), work closely to target gang violence and related drugs, weapons and property crime.
The police service is also moving forward on plans for a multi-year proactive policing strategy, which includes the addition of four more members on patrol to compliment work being done in other targeted enforcement units such as the Community Policing Unit, Criminal Investigations Division (CID), Child Protection, Police and Crisis Team (PACT), and Community Safety Officers (CSO).
“Our community continues to be challenged by a higher number of firearms, drugs, violence and property crime,” Bergen added.
“Our police members also continue to respond to a high number of calls for service involving residents struggling with mental health crises, addictions, and other concerns often driven by poverty.”