Rural Crime Increasing

Res #: 26-23A
Number: 26
Year: 2023
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing

WHEREAS crime has continued to increase in rural areas.

WHEREAS landowners/individuals have wait times for the RCMP responding for service that are too long.

WHEREAS landowners/individuals do not have sufficient rights to protect themselves and their property.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial and federal governments to increase the number of officers.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety

May 11, 2023

Reducing property crime in rural Saskatchewan and enhancing public safety by increasing the number of enforcement officers is a priority for the Government of Saskatchewan. 

The 2022 Throne speech announced the addition of a new Crime Reduction Team (CRT) in the Battlefords region, a new Warrant Enforcement Suppression Team (WEST) in Prince Albert, the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team (STRT) and the establishment of the Saskatchewan Marshals Service (SMS). 

Ten CRTs are scattered throughout the province intended to target street gangs, prolific offenders, and to respond to both urban and rural crime surges. CRTs can rapidly deploy to communities experiencing dramatic surges in criminal activity to suppress further crime and assist local investigative efforts. Our government invests $10.4 million annually to fund 72 police officer positions, six analysts and four support staff under the CRT initiative. 

The WEST was designed to apprehend prolific offenders with outstanding warrants before they reoffend. This mobile team works closely with the RCMP, municipal police, Community Corrections and Correctional Service Canada to identify and capture wanted offenders who pose a significant risk to public safety. 

WEST launched in April of 2022 with a single team based out of Saskatoon and Meadow Lake. The additional team announced for Prince Albert is expected to be operational in late 2023-24, doubling the total resource allocation to 16 RCMP officers, two analysts and two administrative support positions at a total annual cost of $2.3 million starting in 2023-24. 

The STRT program includes funding for 30 RCMP officers, six municipal police officers (Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert}, two criminal analysts, and three support staff, mandated to investigate the trafficking of drugs, illegal weapons, and humans. 

The SMS will provide additional law enforcement presence across Saskatchewan and support RCMP, First Nations and municipal police operations where appropriate. They will be a proactive, focused, and deployable police service able to respond to areas with high crime rates, apprehend offenders with outstanding warrants, and investigate increased rural offenses like theft and trespassing. The SMS is expected to be fully operational by late 2026 and will include 70 officers plus support staff with an annual budget of $20 million. 

These recent enhancements supplement existing crime reduction strategies such as the PRT and Community Safety Officer (CSO} program. 

The PRT supports the RCMP by providing resources including Conservation Officers, Saskatchewan Highway Patrol officers, and Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan to: 

  • improve police response to emergency calls for services, including property crimes that are in progress; 
  • enhance uniform visibility and presence in rural Saskatchewan; 
  • increase the enforcement of drug trafficking on Saskatchewan’s roadways; and 
  • enhance the safety of roads by reducing the number of serious collisions and fatalities. 

In 2022 PRT officers responded to 69 calls for service. 

The CSO program has expanded throughout the province to more than 23 locations providing municipalities and First Nations enhanced community safety services to supplement local police. CSOs provide a uniformed presence to deter crime and address low-risk policing priorities to allow police more time to investigate serious and emergent crime. 

The Honourable Christine Tell – Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety