Grande Prairie crime rate sky-rockets while Alberta's lowest ever

RCMP say changing demographics and an increase in industry are behind an increase in crime in Grande Prairie.

Const. Carol MacKinley says the Grande Prairie detachment is responding to about 400 calls per week this summer.

MacKinley says with the increase in economic activity, there's also been an increase in Grande Prairie's transient population. She says that's meant more criminal activity, especially alcohol-related offences.

She says it seems to be a problem Grande Prairie shares with Fort McMurray.

"I think probably many of our issues or problems are similar," says MacKinley. "Certainly that reflects back on demographics and what is happening in the northern areas."

MacKinley says the Grande Prairie mounties had to respond to more than 100 calls in a 24 hour period earlier this week.

Meanwhile Alberta's crime rate has hit its lowest level in 16 years.

Numbers from the Canadian Center for Justice Statistics indicate the overall crime rate dropped 3 % last year.

The crime rate has been going down for the past 3 years.

Heather Forsyth, the province's Solicitor General, credits effective community policing and more crime prevention programs.

Break-ins dropped the most with 10 % fewer break-ins in 2000 than in 1999.

The exception to the drop is youth crime. Violent crimes committed by youth are up 6.6 %, while youth property crime increased in the past 12 months by 1.5 %.