Council members of Foothills County have voted to continue their Rural Crime Strategy for the duration of 2019.

The initiative was a pilot program which ran from October to December of 2018 which saw a higher RCMP presence in the Foothills; and was largely successful according to RCMP statistics and community feedback.

Ryan Payne, Deputy CAO and Director of Community Services with Foothills County says council will provide funding, and the strategy will be implemented the same way as it was in 2018.

"There is additional funding that council has put aside in the 2019 budget for this initiative, but the program will carry on the same enhanced level of service that was purchased for the pilot project that we saw take place in 2018."

From October to December, as part of the pilot project, Foothills County provided municipal funding to the RCMP who in turn provided additional officers to the region.

Traffic safety and property crimes have been the main focuses targeted in the initiative.

Payne says residents should be aware of the higher presence of officers around the Foothills.

"I'd say the key thing to know is that the RCMP are out and about keeping an eye on things, they'll be on some of the more remote roads and locations throughout the county keeping an eye on things. People shouldn't be concerned about seeing the RCMP out there, they're just there to keep their presence known and to keep the community safe."

Foothills County is now waiting for an agreement from the provincial government, expected within the week.

RCMP will be presenting their Q3 and Q4 statistics in March or April, which will provide more details of how effective the pilot program was.

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