United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney along with Highwood MLA Wayne Anderson say current Provincial and Federal governments need to take rural crime seriously.

Recent incidents have spurred debate on rural crime and property rights, including firearms charges against a man confronting thieves on his rural property.

Kenney says the incident is just another indication of a much larger provincial issue.

"There are some indications that property crimes in rural Alberta have doubled or tripled in the last year or two," he says. "I'm told by police there are drug gangs coming in from British Columbia and they recruit people to commit these property offences. We've seen many farmers victims of serial property crimes, B&E's are now turning into home invasions, and home invasions are turning into violent situations."

Kenney says long police response times combined with the rising crime rate make for a dangerous situation, adding the current government needs to take more action

"We need more prosecutors and judges to clear out the backlogs in the courts. We need Justin Trudeau to stop repealing Stephen Harper's tough on crime laws to stop the revolving door for sentencing. We need prosecutors to respect people's right to use an appropriate degree of self defence, it's guaranteed in the Criminal Code. Still, people should not be doing things that are dangerous themselves, at the end of the day we need to rely on the police to enforce the law."

He says the recent creation of a Rural Crime Task force shows the UCP's desire to crack down on the issue.

Anderson echoes Kenney saying the Rural Crime Watch meeting on Wednesday, February 21 and recent communications with residents and RCMP and Municipal Enforcement show the UCP is working towards a solution.

"Our relationship with the UCP party and the Federal Conservative Party, with Jason's background, and our relationship with the MD Council, we are working together as a cohesive group. That to me shows the citizens of Okotoks that we're working together as a group to say look we recognize this is an issue."


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