Crime Reduction Teams launch in three Saskatchewan cities to address gun crime
REGINA -- The Provincial Government has launched Crime Reduction Teams in three Saskatchewan cities, all with a goal to combat crime and make communities safer.
The announcement comes after a rise in gun related crime in the province. The teams are in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert but are required to assist nearby communities.
"Going back to about 2014, we've seen a dramatic rise in the number of firearms in our community,” Deputy Chief Dean Rae with the Regina Police Service said. “Not just used in offenses, but prevalence of being found. Whether we stop a stolen car or we show up at an address for an offense, often times we're coming across firearms. We need to be able to investigate those thoroughly and try to find out where they are all coming from and how they are getting in the hands of these individuals."
The Regina team will consist of six RPS officers, four RCMP members and one RCMP analyst. Together the team will provide extra resources for investigating gun related crimes in the city to reduce that type of criminal activity in the future.
“There is great value working with our partners in the RCMP,” Rae said. “They have a vast array of resources available to them. They have a tremendous intelligence and understanding of what’s going on in rural Saskatchewan, so that information is brought to us. We have value to them because we give them context on what’s going on in the city of Regina and often times some of the players are very much the same.”
This team is funded by the province and is required to commit 20 per cent of its work to investigating gun related crimes in nearby communities.
“If the community is having problems with people selling drugs or committing other crimes, they may go out and target some of the individuals that are causing some of those problems,” Rae said. “If its people that maybe have some outstanding warrants, they may go out and arrest those individuals or conduct other investigations to help what’s going on. Again, holding offenders accountable for what’s going on in the community and creating greater awareness of that issue which will be the firearms and how it related to drugs and gang investigations.”
RPS said gun related violence is closely related to drugs, gangs and property crime and this team will be investing many of those incidents as well.
"We all know that just because they are doing a firearms investigation does not mean that they won’t come across drugs or won’t come across people involved in gang activity or people committing property crimes,” Rae said. “It’s blended. Not one investigation necessary stays in the same lane, they broaden out and depending on how the investigation unfolds, we'll likely overlap a number of those we are selecting this group to stay focused on firearms but knowing full well they will do a bit of everything at some point in time."