ABmunis shines spotlight on community safety

Alberta Municipalities’ non-partisan ‘Think Alberta, Vote Local’ public information campaign continued building momentum this week with another online media event on May 16.

Directors Tyler Gandam (Cities up to 500,000) and Trina Jones (Towns - East) spoke about the public safety and policing challenges ABmunis’ 275 member communities face.

Gandam, who also serves as mayor of the City of Wetaskiwin, was quick to point out that community safety is a top-of-mind issue for Albertans everywhere.

“Albertans are concerned about public safety and policing whether they live in a remote village, a town of 8,000 people, or one of our province’s largest cities,” said Gandam, who cited the survey Janet Brown conducted for ABmunis in January 2023.

When survey participants were asked, on an open-ended basis, what they believed the major causes of crime were in the part of Alberta where they live, the most common answers given were:

  • The economy and unemployment
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Homelessness and poverty.

“Only seven per cent of those surveyed said ‘a lack of policing resources’ was a major cause of crime,” said Gandam.

Jones, who also serves as mayor of the Town of Legal, highlighted the fact that most Albertans thought that replacing the RCMP with a provincial police service was not an effective way to address crime.

“We encourage the next provincial government to focus its time, energy and resources on improving social services and the justice system rather than on creating a provincial police service,” said Jones.

Both directors encouraged Albertans to ‘Think Alberta, Vote Local’ and ask candidates who show up on their doorsteps during this election, ‘Who has the best plan when it comes to community safety?

Jones concluded her remarks by restating ABmunis’ position on the possible creation of a provincial police force.

“If the next provincial government decides, once elected, that it wants to create a provincial police service, then Alberta Municipalities firmly believes the matter needs to be put to a vote, through a referendum,” said Jones.

The last of ABmunis’ three ‘Think Alberta, Vote Local’ online media events will take place on May 23. President Cathy Heron and Director Jones will speak about Community Healthcare, including Emergency Medical Services.