Medicine Hat… Vehicles, firearms, and power tools are just some of the stolen items recovered by an upstart policing team in southeast Alberta. A joint forces initiative between ALERT, Medicine Hat Police Service, and the RCMP is aimed at tackling regional property crime.
ALERT’s Southeast Alberta Property Crime Unit launched at the beginning of April 2020, with its creation attributable to new funding provided by the Alberta Government. The unit will explore the regional correlation between property crime and street-level drug activity within Medicine Hat and surrounding areas.
“Property crime – much of it driven by drug addiction – endangers the safety and security of Albertans. I am confident ALERT’s innovative partnership with the Medicine Hat Police Service and the RCMP will help bring many of those responsible for drug-related crime in southeastern Alberta to justice. Our government is providing ALERT with $50 million in new funding over four years for new initiatives like this to fight serious and organized crime and keep Albertans safe in their communities,” said Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
Medicine Hat Police Service identified the correlation between drug users/traffickers and stolen property offences via a two-year case study analysis. Between September 2017 and September 2019, police examined nine cases of persons involved in significant rural and urban property crimes in the area, and further identified an estimated $1.6 million worth of stolen goods.
“By regionalizing our Property Crime Unit and working closely with our partners in the RCMP, through the effective leadership of ALERT, our communities will be safer and criminals will soon learn that enforcement has no borders,” said MHPS Chief Andy McGrogan.
ALERT’s new, integrated unit has made 73 arrests since April 2020, resulting in over 250 charges. More than $240,000 worth of stolen goods has been recovered, along with approximately $34,000 worth of drugs. Some of the recovered items include: multiple stolen vehicles; all-terrain vehicles; power tools; generators; license plates; and copper wire.
ALERT has been able to connect some of the stolen property to thefts in Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Cypress County, County of Forty Mile, County of Newell, and Sundre.
“Criminals don’t respect borders. Through an integrated, collaborative policing approach, we can provide a swift and agile response to this multi-jurisdictional crime trend,” said Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT Chief Executive Officer.
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous. Medicine Hat residents can also submit tips anonymously through the Medicine Hat Police Service mobile app, which is free to download and available for both Apple and Android devices.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.