File Photo.

ATM thefts down in Central Alberta in 2019

RCMP data also shows some aspects of property crime in the rural and municipal areas drop as well

RCMP statistics show ATM thefts in the Central Alberta District were down last year compared to 2018.

Like the instances in Eckville this past year, there were 13 attempts of ATM theft in the Central Alberta District. The theft was completed on 10 occasions for a total of 23 cases in 2019, according to statistics provided for the detachments byt the Central Alberta District.

Numbers from 2018 show 47 cases with 20 attempts and 27 completions.

Jennifer Kees, crime reduction community outreach and engagement specialist with K Division, says there are a handful of precautions businesses can take to deter this type of theft.

“When you have an ATM machine in your premise it’s best if you don’t place it right in front of the front window on display so anybody driving by can see it,” said Kees, adding it’s also not a good idea to tuck it back into a corner where staff are unable to see it.

She says RCMP also recommend securing the ATM by bolting it to the ground, for example.

Kees added having the premise is under video surveillance, the machine alarmed and GPS tracked will help, as well as having signage promoting all the monitoring.

Additionally, she says stores with a glass front can try using cement bollards to stop vehicles from being able to drive through it.

“Usually criminals they don’t like knowing they’re being watched, they don’t like knowing that they’re lit up per se and if you’re taking away the opportunity it doesn’t make it worth while for them,” said Kees.

Moreover, RCMP data also shows break and enters and possession of stolen goods were on the rise in the Sylvan Lake RCMP Municipal and Rural Detachments coverage area.

Third quarter data collected by the RCMP for January until September of 2018 and 2019 break down the numbers of reported property crimes, including break and enter, theft of motor vehicle, theft (over and under $5,000) and possession of stolen goods.

Fourth quarter data is not currently available.

The Sylvan Lake Rural Detachment saw a 64 per cent increase in break and enters as well as a 15 per cent increase in possession of stolen goods.

In 2018 the reported number of break and enters was 56 whereas 2019 had 92 reported cases. The number of reported possession of stolen goods cases jumped by six between 2018 and 2019 from 40 to 46.

Data for the rural detachment also shows theft of motor vehicle and theft (over and under $5,000) were both down 39 per cent and 35 per cent respectively in the same time frame.

Theft (over and under $5,000) fell from 132 cases reported in January to September of 2018 to 86 in January to September of 2019, while theft of motor vehicle cases dropped from 57 to 35.

The Sylvan Lake Municipal Detachment saw similar results in its data between 2018 and 2019.

Reported break and enters were up 30 per cent as cases jumped from 60 to 78 according to the third quarter data.

The other increase was in possession of stolen goods where 48 cases were reported in 2018 and 2019 had 61resulting in a 27 per cent spike.

The municipal detachment saw a slight four per cent decrease in theft of motor vehicles with 87 cases reported between January and September of 2019.

Theft (over and under $5,000) plummeted 33 per cent with 273 cases reported compared to 2018’s 405.

The RCMP has put in strategies for combating different types of rural crime, including Crime Reduction Units in all districts, an Intelligence Program and a Police Reporting and Occurrence System (PROS) Data Centre.

These are joined by the Call Back Unit which is designed to handle non-emergency calls for service and Project Lock Up which places a spotlight on repeat victims of property crime.

The Alberta RCMP also continually works with community partners such as Rural Crime Watch and Citizens on Patrol.

Kees says these members serve as “another set of eyes and ears out in the neighbourhood.”

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