Concerns surrounding rural crime discussed at SARM convention

One of the frustrations voiced at the 2020 SARM Convention from Regina this week revolved around rural crime concerns in the province.

The topic was brought up by delegates during the ‘bear pit’ session with cabinet ministers and Premier Scott Moe on Wednesday, and again during the RCMP’s presentation on the matter on Thursday morning.

Commanding Officer Mark Fisher with the Saskatchewan RCMP led the discussion on Thursday, taking questions from concerned residents on what has been and can be done to solve the issue.

Fisher said RCMP in the province has made efforts to try to eliminate property crime in rural areas, adding that they have seen reductions in certain areas of the province.

“It’s encouraging and it’s the direction we obviously want to see it go, and it’s keeping that focus on people involved in property crime,” stated Fisher.

Following his presentation, the commanding officer fielded a few questions from SARM members at the convention, one being what the RCMP is doing to help address the vacancy rate for police officers in the province.

Fisher said when he took on his current role with the RCMP back in 2018, Saskatchewan’s vacancy rate was around nine to 10 per cent. In 2020, it sits at two per cent – one of their lowest rates in years.

“I think we are in a much better place than we were a couple years ago, and we’re seeing that with some of the crime rates dropping in certain areas and the increased visibility that we’re seeing,” said Fisher.

“Ideally, we want to try and increase our recruitment of people from Saskatchewan and just in policing as well.”

He added that funding from the provincial government and municipal contracts help determine how many RCMP recruits they can have spread out in the province. The RCMP also provides data to governments on which areas are in need of more support.

“I think it’s important to remember there are successes out there and to remember this is a large province. We have a lot of territory for us to cover geographically.”

Fisher encourages rural residents to sign up for the Rural Crime Watch program to help RCMP further reduce rural crimes and help with property recoveries.

He said there’s over 10,000 people who are registered in the province.

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