If you’ve turned on the radio news or read the local paper lately, chances are you’ve noticed that rural crime has been on the rise. Perhaps you’ve even experienced rural crime directly, facing property damage, theft, or other forms of crime.
In 2015, Canada’s crime index rose for the first time in 12 years, with the highest increase in western Canada, led by a 10% bump. Sadly, rural crime has become one of the top domestic issues in Canada. Given these alarming statistics, rural Canadians are expressing concern about the rise in rural crime and the pervasive and increasing vacancy rates for RCMP members. Residents often feel vulnerable because of long RCMP response times – due to limited police resources – and our RCMP officers are concerned about their safety and the safety of the communities where they work across Canada. The worsening situation leaves RCMP members suffering both physically and mentally as they work hard to close the operational gap. Meanwhile, rural Canadians worry for the safety of their families and their homes.
Conservatives understand the importance of keeping families and communities safe. We are paying attention to this trend and preparing to address it. That’s why my colleague, MP Shannon Stubbs, has introduced a motion before Parliament calling for a study of this serious issue.
M-167, if passed, would instruct the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to look into current rural crime rates and trends, examine RCMP and other policing resources in rural areas, and work to improve crime prevention as well as curb emerging crime rates. Gathering this information will allow the government to reallocate resources to better help the RCMP tackle rural crime.
I support a national study as the next necessary step to understanding the full scope of the problem and working toward finding a real and tangible solution.
If you have a rural crime story you’d be willing to share with me, I encourage you to send it to my office by emailing Ted.Falk.C1@parl.gc.ca. Your feedback will help us as we work to find ways to keep our communities safe.