Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer. Black Press file photo

Alberta Justice Minister touring province to understand effect rural crime

Minister Doug Schweitzer was in Red Deer Sept. 6 for the second day of his Alberta tour

Alberta’s Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer says rural crime is a big concern, which is why he is touring the province speaking to those most affected.

On Friday, the minister was in Red Deer for day two of his tour across the province. He spoke with the city’s mayor and council along with members of crime watch groups in the region.

He said the tour was important to the Provincial Government to learn what is important to residents of the province.

“The general frustration we are hearing is that people just are not feeling safe,” Schweitzer said.

The first meetings of what is scheduled to be a month-long tour, have shown each community has specific needs and concerns.

However, the overall feeling comes back to rural citizens not feeling safe in their homes and communities.

“This is a big concern for us and our residents,” said Schweitzer.

“The feedback we have been getting is that the previous government was not responsive enough. Our plan is help facilitate the need in our communities.”

The tour, which could stretch into the months of October and November as new communities are added to the list, is part of the UCP Government’s “multi-pronged approach” to rural crime.

During the election this past spring, the UCP promised a 16-point plan to decrease crime in Alberta.

Schweitzer said the province-wide tour is to ensure the policies created by the government are being used effectively, while also finding out where more work can be done.

“One thing we have heard a lot of is that people feel like justice isn’t being served. They are confident that a criminal may be caught, but not that they will stay put away,” he said.

As part of the 16-point plan promised, the government is looking to hire 50 more prosecutors to take the load off of the over-worked system.

Schweitzer says the hiring process for these new prosecutors is underway.

He continued to say the ministry is looking at putting more of the platform together and into place through feedback gathered from the provincial tour.

“This is going to give us a better sense about what is going on in our province. There are many issues our communities are facing.”

Schweitzer will be visiting with communities a couple days each week throughout the fall, to better understand the problem of rural crime in Alberta, he says.

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