The Province of Alberta is reporting gains are being made in the fight against crime in rural areas.

Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley says she is pleased to share this good news, but she knows there is more work to do.

"As you know between the Rural Crime Strategy and budget we hired 59 new RCMP officers and 40 staff to support them," said Ganley. "And today we are seeing the impact of those investments. Since January property crime is down about 11 percent across rural Alberta."

She adds year-over-year there have been 366 fewer break-ins, 648 fewer vehicle thefts and almost 2400 fewer total thefts.

"It is important to remember that in each instance that represents families that feel safer in their homes."

Other improvements have included the formation of four new crime reduction units that are making a difference.

"They are overseeing habitual offenders and since February those units have made almost 700 arrests and laid approximately 2300 charges."

Ganley says an opposition report by the UCP party suggests the province should replace the RCMP, but she said now would be a very challenging time to launch a brand new police force that doesn't have the experience dealing with these issues.

She adds the RCMP are the ones that suggested the intelligence lead approaches, which she believes are absolutely the best approach.

"I think that the data bears out so I think the RCMP are actually doing an excellent job of working with communities and ensuring information flow and making those communities safe."

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