Safety and Security for all Calling Lake, AB Residents

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Attention Calling Lake Residents,

As many of you may be aware, CBC did an article on the exponentially high rate of property crime that exists in the Calling Lake area. For both full-time and part-time residents, this article didn’t tell any of us something that we were not aware of. The article points to 87 reported property crimes in 2018 alone.

What this article didn’t highlight was that only 87 property crimes have been reported to the RCMP. The actual number is most likely 4-5 times higher than the reported number. For a hamlet that has less than 500 full-time residents, with the number reaching closer to 1500/2000 when part-time residents are included, these numbers are appalling.

CBC also didn’t tell the individual stories of how people leave their lights on at night or when they are not home in order to dissuade break-ins. It didn’t tell about how some residents are afraid to come to the lake alone. The story of how a man feels the need to sleep with an axe under his bed, or the story of how some are afraid to sleep on the main floor, opting to sleep in the attic were also not told. There is the story of the family that experienced 4 break-ins in a 6 week stretch this spring, and the property that has experienced theft over 2 dozen times in less than 10 years. The fact that many residents have installed security systems (steel plated doors, roll shutters, alarm systems, cameras, etc.) that rival those seen in some of the most dangerous parts of the world was also not told.

It is only a matter of time before there is a break-in gone wrong and someone gets seriously hurt, or worse. This situation is not okay. All residents, both part-time and full-time, do not need to accept this as part of life in Calling Lake. We live in Canada in 2018. We pay taxes that are intended to pay for protection and policing. The services that we pay for are not being effectively delivered in the Calling Lake area. What has been done in the past to address this problem is simply not working. It is time for a new approach to problem that has existed for a long time.

This approach should include, and not be limited to:

• A part/full time detachment in the community similar to that of Breton with a population of 574 or Faust with a population of 261 (two examples of small communities with a detachment).
• Positive interactions between the RCMP and residents (meaning the RCMP attend community events and have positive interactions with residents, not simply responding from Athabasca when a problem is reported).
• Increased RCMP visibility in the community in regards to patrols

Fortunately, we all have a voice to affect positive change. I have emailed our MLA, and I hope that you will either write a letter or send an email to Mr. Colin Piquette. I have included a template for a letter that I am more than happy to email you. Simply email, call or text and I will send it out ASAP. I have also included the MLA’s contact information and the email that I sent him.

Together we can make life at the lake better for everyone. Calling Lake is a little slice of heaven. If you take the time to send a letter or an email, we can all make life at the lake what it is supposed to be, putting this fear and crime ridden existence behind us.

Let’s all make a difference,

Tim Siewert