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Tag: rural crime

Thief in black balaclava and jacket peeks into a house around a white door.

Thefts in MD of Pincher Creek an unfortunate part of rural life

Although maybe not discussed as much as roads and water supply, rural crime continues to play a part in the lives of residents in the MD of Pincher Creek.

For Kimberly Hurst, who attended last Thursday’s Coffee With Council, it’s a topic she is very passionate about. A provincial director for Citizens on Patrol, she is active in the local chapter and with another prevention tool, Rural Crime Watch.

So, what is the difference?

“Citizens on Patrol is a much more active role, where we’re out actively patrolling your community,” Hurst explains. “Rural Crime Watch is neighbours keeping an eye on neighbours. Watching for what is and isn’t normal.”

While some might say they never see the RCMP out on patrol where they live, Hurst believes it’s unrealistic, with a large municipality, for police or bylaw officers to be everywhere.

“We need to assist them in taking ownership of communities and our areas and helping where we can,” she says. “For us to ask them to do all of that themselves, it’s not possible.”


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Theft in rural areas can range from a vehicle being stolen in the middle of the day, when an owner isn’t home or is preoccupied, to machinery or equipment containing copper being pawned for its value. Hurst feels that’s where the two citizen-led programs show their value.

Although COP or COPS, the acronym for Citizens on Patrol, is traditionally in larger centres like Lethbridge or Calgary, it can be just as beneficial to rural settings, as well. More often than not, it is neighbours watching out for neighbours that bring the best results.

Like RCMP, Hurst feels a lot of the crimes, particularly vehicle thefts, can be prevented with one simple thing: taking your keys with you.

“We need to take ownership and take the keys out of our vehicles,” she emphasizes. “We need to lock our houses. We need to take our garage door remotes and not leave them in the car.”

With more and more garages connected to the home, remotes can be used to get inside the home.

“If a thief gets into your garage, chances are the door that leads into your home isn’t locked. Just simple things you can do to prevent a crime,” she adds.




Along the same lines, on Nov. 30, the RCMP detachment in Pincher Creek is hosting its own town hall discussion on rural crime.

“It’s something we try to do every fall,” Sgt. Ryan Hodge explains. “It’s a way for us to connect with the community. Get some feedback from residents. Hear their concerns.”

Among the items to be shared is what the RCMP are doing to reduce crime. The subject, Hodge agrees, is not unique to our part of the world.

“That’s something that’s normal across the country, across our province,” he says. “

, unfortunately, is a regular occurrence.”

Like Hurst, Hodge believes being vigilant, knowing what’s happening around you, is the best way to fight crime.

“We need people to call us and let us know,” he says. “If it ends up being nothing, that’s OK, but if it ends up being new information that we need or we’ve been waiting for, it can be the difference between solving a file or not.”



In fact, help from the public earlier in the fall resulted in charges against one person in a rash of vehicle thefts, Sgt. Hodge added.

“I would encourage people to take it one step further and join Rural Crime Watch. You get a lot more alerts from us. You get a lot more information and the ability to share more freely with us.”

Next Thursday’s RCMP town hall is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. inside the MD’s council chambers on Herron Street, just off Highway 6.


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Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

RCMP logo on car door

Copper wire theft knocks out power to Cottonwood Campground

Pincher Creek RCMP are asking the public to stay out of the Cottonwood Campground for the next three days, following a copper wire theft that knocked out power to the entire site. 

Alberta Parks, which operates the campground near the Oldman River Dam, reported the theft Thursday, May 4, according to Const. Rachel Welsh. 

Dave Hagedorn, Alberta Parks chief ranger for southwestern Alberta, said Thursday afternoon that crews will be on-site through the weekend to determine the extent of the damage. 

It remains to be seen if the damage will significantly impact the site’s availability this season, he said.

Welsh said copper wire thefts are common in the area, adding that thieves recently targeted wind turbines at a wind farm near Pincher Station. 

The campground theft damaged several electrical panels on-site, all of which have to be replaced, she said.  

Mounties are actively investigating both wire thefts. 

Welsh said the campground theft happened sometime after the campground closed last September. 

The campground’s main entrance was then closed to vehicle traffic, but Welsh said Alberta Parks kept another gate open so that parents could access a children’s play area on the campground’s east side. The campground is popular among young families and dog walkers and is easily accessible on foot, she continued. 

Anyone who thinks they’ve spotted suspicious activity at or around the campground is asked to phone Pincher Creek RCMP’s non-emergency line at 403-627-6010.

Alberta Crime Stoppers welcomes anonymous tips at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), online at, or through the P3 Tips app, which is available for download through the Apple Store and Google Play.