Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Alberta

Transit safety and violent crime: Enough is enough

Published

8 minute read

Alberta’s government is taking action to restore order and improve public safety in response to increasing crime and disorder in the province’s big cities.

In both Edmonton and Calgary, criminal activity is on the rise. Between July 2022 and January 2023, Edmonton’s LRT and transit centres experienced an increase in violent criminal incidents of 75 per cent. In Calgary, overall criminal occurrences at LRT stations increased 46 per cent between 2021 and 2022.

Premier Danielle Smith has directed Public Safety and Emergency Services Minister Mike Ellis to work with his cabinet colleagues to develop a plan to hire 100 more street-level police officers over the next 18 months to increase the visible law enforcement presence and tackle criminal activity in high-crime locations in Calgary and Edmonton.

“Safety on public streets is never negotiable. We can address root causes like mental health and addiction at the same time, but we will not compromise on security for all Calgarians and Edmontonians. This starts with the federal government reforming its broken catch-and-release bail system and includes us working with cities and police services to fight back against criminals.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

In addition to increasing the number of street-level police officers on city streets, Alberta’s government is encouraging the City of Calgary and the City of Edmonton to transfer command and control of transit peace officers to the Calgary and Edmonton police services. This transfer would enable the police to better lead a coordinated and strategic response to the increase in violent crime on public transit.

“Enough is enough – the rising crime levels in Edmonton and Calgary are unacceptable. Albertans have a right to use public transit and walk the streets without fear. We are working with our partners to develop a clear plan to take our cities back from those who seek to cause harm.”

Mike Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services

Improving public safety on the cities’ transit networks also involves stations and vehicles that are clean of drug paraphernalia and debris. Through a new $5-million grant to each city, municipal governments will be able to provide the services needed to keep station platforms and vehicles clean, safe and welcoming for law-abiding Calgarians and Edmontonians.

“The safety and security of our transit systems and downtowns will remain a top priority. No single order of government can solve this issue alone. We will continue to work together by deploying our safety resources in an integrated and collaborative way.”

Jyoti Gondek, mayor, City of Calgary, and Amarjeet Sohi, mayor, City of Edmonton

“We are seeing a significant portion of those who are improperly using transit and other public spaces becoming entrenched, with many displaying resistance to offers for services, as well as reduced cooperation and compliance with authority figures. For those people, consequences will follow.”

Mark Neufeld, chief of police, Calgary Police Service

Police and crisis teams

As part of building strong recovery-oriented systems of mental health and addiction care, Alberta’s government is investing almost $8 million over three years to increase the number of police and crisis teams (PACT) in Calgary and Edmonton. PACT pairs police constables with mental health therapists from Alberta Health Services to respond to 911 calls where there is a mental health concern. Police and mental health therapists work together to assess a client’s mental health challenge and determine what support is required to keep the individual and the community safe.

“We are taking a fair, firm and compassionate approach to keeping our communities safe while treating mental health and addiction as health-care issues. By working with our partners in the Calgary and Edmonton police services, we can connect people in need with critical mental health services and better address the social issues affecting our two largest cities.”

Nicholas Milliken, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction

With this funding, Alberta’s government is adding 12 new PACT partnerships in each city. This will double the number of PACT teams in Calgary, increasing from 12 to 24, and triple them in Edmonton, increasing from six to 18. These partnerships will better support Albertans struggling with mental health challenges while improving public safety for everyone.

“These additional resources will help us to gather what we need to get ahead of the concerning spike in crime and particularly violent crime that we are witnessing in areas like our downtown core and transit stations across Edmonton. The support, not just for police but for PACT, means prioritizing those who need support while ensuring appropriate focus on safety. Centring police as leaders within this work shows a key understanding that we cannot have well-being if we don’t have safety.”

Dale McFee, chief of police, Edmonton Police Service

Quick facts

Edmonton crime:

  • The average crime severity index in downtown Edmonton has increased 29 per cent, to 116 in December 2022 from 90 in July 2022, driven primary by an increase in serious criminal offences, in particular second-degree murder, assault causing bodily harm with a weapon, robbery and aggravated assault.
  • In Edmonton, a person is about twice as likely to be victimized by a stranger at a transit centre than for the city as a whole (70 per cent at LRT transit versus 36 per cent citywide).

Calgary crime:

  • Property crime occurrences in Calgary nearly doubled – increasing 95 per cent to 463 in 2022, up from 238 in 2021.
  • Total calls for service to Calgary LRT stations increased to 9,317 in 2022, up 39 per cent from 6,706 in 2021.
    • Public-generated calls for service to LRT stations increased to 5,012 in 2022, up 20 per cent from 4,160 in 2021.
    • Officer-generated calls for service to LRT stations increased to 4,305, up 69 per cent from 2,546 in 2021.

PACT facts:

  • Police and crisis teams (PACT) offer mental health assessment, support and/or consultation in crisis situations. Mental health therapists work with police constables to assess mental health needs and determine appropriate action in accordance with the Mental Health Act and the criminal justice system.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

Follow Author

Alberta

Province advancing plans to build stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital

Published on

Investing in a new Stollery Children’s Hospital

If passed, Budget 2024 will allocate $20 million over three years to advance plans for a stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

With 236 beds, the Stollery Children’s Hospital is the second-largest children’s hospital in Canada and has among the highest inpatient volumes of any children’s hospital in Canada. As the province’s population continues to grow, it is crucial that children in Edmonton and northern Alberta have access to the specialized care they need.

Alberta’s government is steadfast in its commitment to build a stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital. A new facility would provide more beds, larger clinical spaces, more private rooms and dedicated areas for children and their families. It would also result in additional teaching spaces and state-of-the-art technologies to enhance health care delivery specifically for children.

“A new, stand-alone children’s hospital will build capacity and enable health care providers to continue delivering world-class care to children. This investment, as well as other capital investments outlined in Budget 2024, is an example of how we are creating a more unified and efficient health care system for Albertans. I look forward to sharing more details soon.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health

“The new Stollery Children’s Hospital project is the latest addition to Edmonton’s health care infrastructure. Building upon the successes of recent projects like the new emergency department at the Misericordia Community Hospital and Norwood West at the Gene Zwozdesky Centre, the new Stollery will help increase health care capacity in the capital region.”

Pete Guthrie, Minister of Infrastructure

Alberta’s government initially invested in the project in 2021, providing $1 million that was matched by the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. The proposed investment in Budget 2024 will include $17 million in new funding, following the $3 million invested through last year’s budget, for a total investment of $21 million in government funding over four years.

The investment in a new stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital is not only important for families in the city of Edmonton and capital region, it is important for families living across northern Alberta. The Stollery Children’s Hospital serves families in a geographical area of more than 500,000 square kilometres, stretching from Red Deer to Alberta’s northernmost border with the Northwest Territories. Almost 40 per cent of inpatients at the Stollery come from outside the Edmonton area and the hospital is the closest and primary children’s hospital for residents of the Northwest Territories.

“The Stollery has an incredible reputation for the impact it makes in the community, and especially in northern Alberta. This stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital is a long-awaited, necessary project that will help provide additional health care services to children and their families when they need it the most.”

Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for rural health

“This remarkable investment will take us one step closer to our goal of building a reimagined Stollery Children’s Hospital for the future. A new Stollery is poised to provide the most innovative, modern and family-centred physical and mental health care to help bring hope and comfort to kids dealing with serious illness and injury. Thank you to the Government of Alberta for recognizing the very real need for this hospital.”

Karen Faulkner, interim chief executive officer, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation

“A new Stollery Children’s Hospital is urgently needed to provide dedicated care for our children. By separating kids from adults, a stand-alone Stollery ensures a nurturing environment and the most modern pediatric equipment and resources to offer families like ours a health care space designed exclusively for our children.”

Shelley Cormier, parent of Stollery patient

Plans for the new hospital include integrating mental health resources, virtual care, research and training facilities to better support patients and improve health outcomes. There will also be a focus on ensuring health care providers, parents and caregivers have the resources they need to support patients.

Alberta’s government remains dedicated to expanding and modernizing hospitals and facilities to provide Albertans with high-quality health care while increasing system capacity and supporting front-line health care workers.

“Alberta’s government is committed to building a stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital when planning is complete. A new facility would provide more beds, larger clinical spaces, more private rooms and dedicated areas for children and their families. There would also be more teaching spaces and state-of-the-art technologies to enhance health care delivery.”

Dr. Lyle Oberg, executive board chair, Alberta Health Services

Quick facts

  • Established in 2001, the Stollery Children’s Hospital is a full-service pediatric hospital and centre for complex pediatric care and research.
  • The Stollery Children’s Hospital sees about 300,000 children, 55,000 emergency room visits and 12,000 surgeries annually.

Related news

Continue Reading

Alberta

Male suspect involved in tragic incident between Beaumont and Edmonton sought by police; EPS release photos of suspect

Published on

News release from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS)

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is assisting the RCMP with the investigation into a tragic incident that claimed the life of an innocent woman last night on 50 Street.

Yesterday, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at approximately 9:40 p.m. various EPS resources were deployed to the area of 50 Street and 22 Avenue SW at the request of the RCMP. It was reported to police that RCMP attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a suspicious U-Haul in Beaumont, when the vehicle fled. The U-Haul subsequently travelled north on 50 Street into Edmonton, where it struck and killed a woman inspecting the exterior of her vehicle. Moments later the U-Haul came to rest just outside a gas station off of 22 Avenue and 50 Street.

After crashing the U-Haul, the male suspect then reportedly stole a Honda Civic that was parked outside the gas station with a child inside. Police did consider an Alert to the public at the time, though thankfully the child was located unharmed in the area of 66 Street and 25 Avenue minutes later. The suspect then fled the scene in the Honda Civic. The stolen vehicle has since been recovered outside of Edmonton.

The EPS and RCMP continue to actively seek the identity and whereabouts of the male suspect described as being approximately 5’11” who was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes. CCTV photos of the suspect are included below.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear about the tragic death of the innocent woman who was killed on 50 Street,” says Det. Nigel Phillips with the EPS Investigative Response Team. “Our hearts are with her family and friends who will now have to carry on with this unfathomable loss.”

“We are doing everything we can to track down the suspect and we trust the public will help us identify and locate him as soon as possible.”

Assist to identify and locate: Male suspect running in area of 50 Street & 22 Avenue SW
While the RCMP is leading this investigation, the EPS is assisting and working collaboratively with its law enforcement partners.

Anyone with information about the suspect’s identity and/or their whereabouts is asked to contact the EPS immediately at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

Continue Reading

Trending

X