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Theft from motor vehicles leading crime in Fort Macleod

Sgt. Bryan Mucha has command of the Fort Macleod RCMP detachment. Mucha was guest speaker at Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce meeting at Fort Macleod Pizza.

Fort Macleod RCMP deal with theft from motor vehicles more than any other crime.
RCMP Sgt. Bryan Mucha said Thursday the detachment was asked by its supervisors to determine the No. 1 crime issue in the community.
“For us, percentage-wise, it’s theft from motor vehicles,” Mucha said. “It’s just constant. People are looking for easy cash, property they can liquidate.”
“They go through cars repeatedly, up and down streets, downtown, right in front of businesses in broad daylight,” Mucha added. “It’s just happening all the time.”
Fort Macleod residents could solve this problem proactively by removing valuables and locking their parked vehicles.
“We can’t be there to stop it,” Mucha said. “It can happen right here, right now and I wouldn’t even know.”
Mucha, who has command of the Fort Macleod RCMP detachment, was a guest speaker Thursday at the Fort Macleod and District Chamber of Commerce meeting at Fort Macleod Pizza.
“That’s not to say we’re not having break-ins, we’re not having theft of vehicles,” Mucha said. “It’s just this is the highest percentage of files so we’re focusing on that a little bit.”
Fort Macleod RCMP patrols an area that extends north to Granum, south to the Blood Reserve, west to the Piikani Nation and east to the Oldman River.
“Ninety-five per cent of our work is right here in town,” Mucha said.
The detachment is to be staffed with one sergeant, one corporal, five constables and two civilian office staff.
Mucha has been stationed at Fort Macleod for about eight years, initially as a corporal in charge of operations but now as a sergeant with command of the detachment.
“I have a pretty good idea what this town is all about from the policing side,” Mucha said.
When Mucha first came to Fort Macleod the RCMP was dealing with issues in the downtown core such as vagrancy and panhandling, driven by alcohol and prescription drug abuse.
The RCMP now is dealing with more instances involving harder drugs including methamphetamine and opioids, although alcohol continues to be a root cause.
Mucha explained to Chamber members the RCMP’s fiscal year starts in April and the detachment is required to prepare an annual performance plan.
“It give us as a detachment guidance on what our priorities are in the community,” Mucha said.
The RCMP meets with the councils in Fort Macleod, Granum and the MD of Willow Creek to get input into the performance plan.
Meetings are also held with the Fort Macleod Crime Prevention Advisory Committee, Rural Crime Watch and Citizens On Patrol for their input.
“Then we try and develop a plan on what our priorities are,” Mucha said.
One of Fort Macleod’s priorities directed from RCMP headquarters is human resources and employee wellness in the detachment.
Events such as barbecues at the detachment, a movie night at the Empress Theatre, participation in Canada Day celebrations and the Santa Claus Parade, and a staff Christmas party help to raise morale.
“Just some things were trying to do internally to ensure our office is running smoothly and we have healthy people working in a job that is not necessarily healthy,” Mucha said.
Another priority is to improve communication between the detachment and the community, and to have the RCMP have a higher profile in Fort Macleod.
Fort Macleod RCMP is working on what are know as offender management files — that is, identifying serious repeat offenders and finding out if they are on conditional release from court.
“We try to work proactively with them to ensure they are not committing offences and maybe we can try and turn them around from a non-offender perspective.”
Traffic enforcement remains an ongoing priority for the RCMP in Fort Macleod.
“We’re still looking after everything under the sun but these are priorities for us,” Mucha said.

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