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Alberta's rural crime rate 38 per cent higher than urban rate in 2017: Stats Canada report

A Statistics Canada report released this week suggests Alberta's 2017 rural crime rate was 38 per cent higher than the urban crime rate, driven in part by property crime problems.

Difference may be due to property crime problems in rural areas

A new Statistics Canada report shows rural crime rates were 38 per cent higher than urban rates in Alberta in 2017. (Helen Pike/CBC)

A Statistics Canada report released this week says Alberta's 2017 rural crime rate was 38 per cent higher than its urban crime rate, driven, in part, by property crime problems.

Members of a provincial crime prevention organization say there's still a lot of work to be done to try and tackle the problem, but they're seeing progress in Alberta communities as they partner with police.

Corinna Williams is a Northern Sunrise County councillor and the chair of a rural crime watch group. Like other regions across the province, she says property crime continues to be a problem in her area — especially vehicle theft. But she said there's been some change as they urge more rural residents to report crime and suspicious activity to police.

"We've had some excellent returns of people's information where it has accomplished an arrest," Williams said.

Williams also volunteers with the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association, which held an urban and rural crime prevention conference in Canmore this week. Vice president, Mark Kay, says he's seeing more networking and communication between municipalities, police and grassroots organizations as well as more municipal support for crime prevention and social service groups.

"Municipalities and organizations are understanding now that we can't work in isolation," he said. "We have to work collectively."

Alberta RCMP say its rural property crime reduction strategy, launched last year, has also made progress.

With files from Dave Gilson