July 15th, 2024

Coaldale considered one of the safest municipalities in Alberta


By Justin Sibbet - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on June 26, 2024.

Herald photo - Coaldale has been found to be the safest community of its size in Alberta, based on the crime severity index (CSI) by Statistics Canada for numbers between 2018 and 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDjsibbet@lethbridgeherald.com

While some communities are plagued with high crime rates, violence and restless nights, one nearby community can sleep soundly.

Between 2018 and 2022, the most recent numbers available, Coaldale has been the safest community of its size in Alberta, based on the crime severity index (CSI) by Statistics Canada.

With its score being just 52.4 on average in that timespan, Coaldale sits a full 71 points lower than the group average. The group in question includes municipalities of a similar size, as well as neighbouring communities such as Lethbridge.

The highest rate was Ponoka at 185.7, while the nearest to Coaldale was Blackfalds with a 71.7.

Jonathan Wensveen, manager of government relations with the Town of Coaldale, says this CSI score is made possible due to several factors, including safe-minded residents.

“We have a local citizens on patrol association up and running now in Coaldale,” said Wensveen.

“So, I think that helps supplement the RCMP in keeping the (CSI) low. It’s more of a collective effort than anything.”

He says the impact of a low CSI goes beyond residents staying safe, though that is the most important thing.

“We know there’s a correlation between crime severity and it’s impact on property values, for instance, or even on population growth… it’s obviously something people look at when deciding to move to a community.”

While growth and crime tend to go hand in hand, Wensveen says Coaldale is not looking at a drastic increase in population, so the CSI score should remain low for the foreseeable future.

“While we are growing, I don’t think we’re growing at a fast enough rate to see any giant change in the (CSI) score in the near (future).”

Wensveen says a big part of Coaldale’s success in terms of safety comes from the demographic of residents.

“It’s a community primarily composed of young families,” said Wensveen. “A lot of neighbours look out for each other’s kids and they’re looking out for each other’s property. I think that is kind of one of the more intangible factors that probably plays a role.”

He says the town is also fortunate to have a local RCMP detachment as it means officers are always in and around the area.

“They oversee the entire county, but because they start their shift and end their shift in Coaldale, there’s a lot more RCMP coming and going from the community, so I think that helps quite a bit,” said Wensveen.

Chiefly, Wensveen says it is important to look at the CSI over a longer period than just one year as so many factors go into determining the scores. However, even looking at Coaldale’s worst year between 2018 and 2022, it was still well below average, meaning the town has remained safe even in its darkest days from recent memory.

Coaldale also ranked highly in western Canada in that time frame, as the third safest municipality with a population between 8,000 and 11,000. Expanding further, the town was the sixth safest in the entire country during the same period.

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Guy Lethbridge

Wow, as downtown metastasizes into my neighbourhood, I never considered simply moving to Coaldale ,,, perhaps I should .

buckwheat

Really a comparison should be done when the LPS policed Coaldale and now when the RCMP have their sub division there. Wensveen is definitely onto something when you have the troops going and going 24 hours a day. Plus its cheaper.

ewingbt

I thought the same thing . . . several people I know have moved to other municiplities and said it was the best move they could have made.
I met with a couple who moved with their two kids, who were just coming into their teens, from their farm into Lethbridge London Road area. Within a year they had their garage broken into, articles stolen including bikes of course, their kids had to avoid the downtown library because of the issues there and the daughter, who was just coming into ‘womanhood’ had to sit in the Park n Ride washroom for a period of time, not able to move because of the issue, while a young naked woman kept banging on her door asking her for drugs, and other articles. She was in fear! That was a couple of years ago and they have increased patrols at the Park n Ride and changed policies and it is much safer now, but the kids had to avoid that terminal when using the bus to go to the westside library. They moved after only living in Lethbridge for 18 months and said life is so much better in the small community they live in now!
I thought about moving, but why should I have to move? We have already let these criminals take over and destroy Galt Gardens while we have to use a small section of a city block called Festival Square. Benches have been burned and some of the large green tables burned and removed. Trees have had to be cut down from damage and trimmed down radically and damage to the infrastructure is constant.
I have to ask, why are 2 security guards on duty when people continue to sleep rough, block major pathways, do drugs constantly and threaten and initimidate citizens walking through the park. The costs to counter the damages continue to rise daily! This is not an overflow of the shelter, it is a public park and if they don’t want to respect it and the public they should be removed and sent back to their homes, which many have!
Lawlessness is a police problem and should be dealt with instead of swept under the table and “saying there is nothing we can do, every community has these issues!”
I know people who live in Coaldale and sometimes there is ‘small town justice’ which I do not recommend here!
There is no excuse for the issues on our streets . . . the laws are in place and it is time we as a citizens started demanding change now, not 2 years from now!
We have faced the same old song and dance several times . . . They said we couldn’t close the SCS . . . we did . . . they said we couldn’t shut down the illegal LOPS tent setting up in parks . . . we did . . . they said we couldn’t stop the encampments . . . we did . . . they now say we cannot stop the loitering and property damage . . . WE WILL!
There has to be a WILL and there has to be citizens calling or emailing their Council to tell them they want this to end. Go to committees that police commission and stand up for the 5 minutes alloted and tell them you want change now!
Call police and tell them you want changes now! Make your voice known!
We have proven that we do not have to be like other communities who look like Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, etc., and that change can happen, but the WILL has to be there!
I for one am tired after 8 years of this gong-show and I am coming out swinging since concerns once again fell on deaf ears! I will holler louder!

Last edited 19 days ago by ewingbt
biff

maybe the province can move or create some services lethbridge is on the hook for – such as shelters. not at all to suggest we do not provide services, but i feel it fair to share the load.

biff

as for the stated reasons for coaldale safety – really? young families looking out for each other lol cars speed with regularity through school/park zones with little to no enforcement. what makes coaldale safe is they have no offload/overload of hardcore synthetic drug addicts living on their streets.



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