Calgary's Crime Rates Keep Getting Worse But Police May Face A $7 Million Funding Cut
Violent crime in Calgary has gone up by 57.4 per cent in five years.
Violent crimes in Calgary have been on the rise, with a significant spike in gun violence, sexual assults, and robberies. However, despite this, city council has announced a potential $7 million budget cut for the Calgary police force. The City of Calgary plans to cut a total of $60 million from the municipal budget this year, and the Calgary Police Service faces the third largest budget cut.
According to data released by Statistics Canada on Monday, violent crime in Calgary has gone up by 57.4 per cent in only five years. Last year, the city saw a total of 83,277 reported crimes, which is 10.5 per cent higher than the previous year. There were also 13,499 violent crimes in 2018 and this is 12.3 per cent higher than in 2017.
Calgary still ranks better when compared to other cities in Alberta in the Statistics Canada Crime Severity index, but the city's index rating of 88.1 is higher than the national average of 75.
On Tuesday, the council will discuss the details of the budget cut, which according to Ward Sutherlan, is much less severe than the initial proposal from the city, the Calgary Herald reports. Sutherland sits on the civillian board governing the police force.
"So we pushed back with the actual CPS management, because the cuts were too drastic for the original amount that they had said. Our mandate is not to impede the services and safety of citizens, and that’s when we said the max we can do is $7 million — more than that, that’ll cause problems,” he said, according to the Calgary Herald.
He also said the budget cut will not effect the front line officers, and that $7 million is the maximum amount they can afford.
Brian Thiessan, chair of the police comission, said in a statement obtained by Calgary Herald that he hopes when council reviews the budget priorities, they consider the effects of the cut to the police budget and their ability to respond to crimes.
“The commission is aware of these crime trends and we are just as concerned as the community about cuts to the Calgary Police Service budget,” he said.
The City is meeting on Tuesday to discuss the details of their municipal budget cut.