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  • Social media putting crime in the spotlight

    Word is spreading across the Langdon Good Luck town Facebook page fast and furious.
    Another attempted boat theft. That was less than a week after a successful boat theft, which was reported and followed up with surveillance footage.
    After this becomes shared and commented on, another post points out the RCMP cruiser is in the area, which is good with the ‘rise in crime.’
    The difference is nothing has changed in police procedure. What is different from years past is word of mouth about crime has sped up dramatically due to social media.
    “People say they want more police presence. We can say we’re there right now,” said Rocky View Division 4 councillor Rolly Ashdown. “You just don’t see them. It’s a tough thing. It’s tough for people to understand because how do you know it’s there. I get the frustration.
    “With the way social media is, once someone gets broken into, everyone knows about. It didn’t used to be the case. You used to need about 20 people broken into before you found out. Now one appears like it’s 20.
    “That phenomenon has only happened in the last couple of years. It’s hard to explain to residents that now they are hearing about crime a lot more often, it doesn’t mean there is a crime wave going on. I get calls about what we can do about it.
    “Crime is on the rise, but it’s not Langdon specific. It’s Southern Alberta. We don’t have a Langdon spike but we do have a Southern Alberta spike.”
    In terms of theft deterrent, security cameras certainly help, and there seems to be enough in Langdon to capture images of thieves, but if someone is determined to take something, they will know not to do it in front of an police vehicle and not worry about cameras.
    Ashdown says it’s very difficult to catch someone in a criminal act, and there isn’t much that can be done as deterrent. The RCMP are around Langdon, and last year a hamlet-specific officer was assigned to the area, but the presence can’t be everywhere at all times.
    “When people are speeding a lot, and there is a problem area, you can do an enforcement blitz,” Ashdown said. “Once people start getting tickets and once police are seen there, people don’t speed as much on that street.
    “It’s not that way with thefts. It’s not a situation where people see someone stealing things and all they need to do is get a police officer over to tell them to stop doing it. It’s a crime and it’s a different animal.
    “In general, the new staff sergeant we have seemed a little surprised at how little crime there is. How do you convince someone who has something stolen from there that there is no crime? That’s the tough part of it.”
    Last month, social media blew up with a police presence at the shopping area that is home to the Buy Low. A call came in about someone suspicious who darted into the trees and looked like they might be carrying a weapon.
    The area was blocked off and searched, and even the Calgary Police HAWCS helicopter did a pass by with and infrared camera. Nothing was found.
    “This should give people some additional assurance knowing that if something does happen, they are available and they do act fast,” Ashdown said.
     “It’s not a bad feeling that if somebody really did see something, they would be on top of it.”