Rural crime. If nothing changes, another death is inevitable.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to see how increasingly bold and violent rural criminals are becoming. Just a quick google search found all of these violent rural home invasions in Alberta just in the last few years.

A 64-year-old man was hospitalized with a gunshot wound during a failed home invasion this week near Vermilion.

Blackfalds RCMP are looking for three suspects in a home invasion at a rural property near Red Deer.Police say the three entered the home in Linn Valley Monday morning at about 8 a.m. dressed all in black with face masks and carrying long-barrelled guns, RCMP said.

RCMP have identified a suspect in connection with a home invasion in rural Alberta where an elderly man was threatened at gunpoint.The masked robber was alone when he broke into the home in the Municipality of Foothills at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said. He pointed a firearm at the 77-year-old resident demanding money.

Many Alix residents are feeling uneasy and unsafe in their community after a local man was allegedly attacked with a machete by two men in a home invasion incident.

Ponoka RCMP are looking for five male suspects in a home invasion in Morningside.At approximately 2 a.m. on June 24 police say the men entered the home and restrained and robbed two occupants. Police were alerted to the incident after receiving a 911 call.The two residents were located in the home with minor injuries resulting from an altercation that occurred in the home.Further investigations revealed that the men entered the home with a firearm and restrained the two victims. Further to the invasion the suspects took five firearms, coins and a 1995 maroon Dodge Ram that belonged to the victims.

The RCMP has arrested two men following two home invasion incidents where a man was held at gunpoint.Two men are facing charges after a lengthy investigation involving Morinville General Investigation Section (GIS), the Forensic Identification Section and the RCMP Edmonton Serious Crimes Branch.

Sylvan Lake RCMP say two men rang the doorbell of a residence on Leaside Crescent at 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 7.The 65-year-old female home owner answered the door and the men came into the residence and assaulted her. Police say she was punched several times by one of the males, but was not seriously injured.

There are many more reports of violent incidents and literally thousands of property crimes to report. I think I have posted enough to make my point.

RCMP are advising rural residents to lock their doors, call 911 and cower and pray if people invade their property. People are expected to hope that the criminals are not violent and they are expected to let their hard earned property get stolen over and over and over again.

Sorry folks but that just isn’t good enough. In light of an explosion of rural crimes coupled with 40 minute police response times, rural citizens are feeling the need to protect themselves and their families and they will be using firearms. Chiding from fools who live in urban environments where neighbors are mere feet away and police response times are often under 5 minutes won’t dissuade rural crime victims from planning on self-defense nor will threats from the law.

The old saying of “I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6” is what applies here. In reality, we know that no jury would convict in these cases so yes we may very well choose to come out with guns blazing.

How are we to know if and when the latest invaders are going to be violent?

Do we know if they will simply stop at stealing from the yard or garage? Will they just steal one of the vehicles and leave? Will they decide as many do to break into the household? Are they just thieves or are they rapists as well? These are the things we have to think about while we sit in our homes as people invade our property. We often will have as long as an hour to think about it before police arrive. The criminals know this too of course and that is a large part of why rural crime is spiking.

Some fools say “It’s only property, let it go!”.

Really? How much are we expected to “let go” of?

This property is often what we require to make a living. Tools of our trades. Vehicles. Fuel. All things that we need to use in order to feed our families. Are we supposed to let these crooks just keep taking it at will? That is what is happening as some properties are getting hit over and over and over again. Not all crooks are stupid and they remember which houses are taking the cower approach to crime. They know that they can comfortably rob those homes repeatedly.

Another popular vacuous statement is “Let insurance take care of it”.

Do these people think that insurance is free? Every time you make a claim the premiums will rise. Not only that, many rural homeowners are finding that insurance companies are refusing them coverage for theft because it simply is happening too much. Where does that leave us?

Yes, it is inevitable that somebody is going to die soon. The only question is whether it will be a homeowner or a criminal.

Perhaps some or even many have died already. How often do we hear of addicts who have suddenly disappeared never to be seen again? I wonder how many of those picked the wrong rural property to rob and found themselves buried on the back 40? There is nobody around to hear the gunshot or watch the backhoe work.

It should not come down to this but that is where we are going.

Rural crime is exploding due to a number of factors and unless all of them are addressed we will see it continue to rise and with tragic consequences.

The biggest elephant in the room is the native element in rural crime. Native reserves are socioeconomic disaster zones where crime and addiction are running rampant. Rural crime rates explode in areas within 50 km of any native reserve and it is hardly a coincidence. Nothing terrifies politicians and authorities in general more than dealing with the catastrophe that we call the reserve system but it will only get worse until somebody gets the balls to take on the issue.

While dominated by natives, not all rural crime is committed by them. The Maurice case in Okotoks has no racial element to it at all. In the Maurice case though, the criminals were found to be in possession of methamphetamine. Addiction is another huge piece in the rural crime puzzle. Increases in funding and supports for addiction treatment will go a long way towards reducing rural crime (along with health and incarceration costs). We need to seriously work on addiction issues everywhere in Alberta.

The justice system needs more teeth as well. The vast majority of rural crimes are being committed by a small number of repeat offenders who are constantly being released in our revolving door justice system. We need to give strong sentences to repeat offenders and need to stick with them. It is no cheaper to have them in and out of court 6 times a year than to simply keep them in prison for a solid year. Maybe with a long sentence they can get the treatment they need. Releasing them sure as hell isn’t working.

Local policing needs more resources. The NDP announced funding for 39 more officers recently. That indeed helps and it is appreciated. It is however a drop in the bucket when it is considered that we have well over 100 detachments in the province.

We could better prioritize our police resources. How much time do uniformed police officers have to dedicate to traffic enforcement and writing reports? Are there not auxiliary units for paperwork and other minor incidents? Lets examine how we can free up our highly trained RCMP officers for the more serious responses rather than tying them up on mundane issues.

Rural crime watch organizations are self-funding and often have some pretty lean budgets. With more resources in funding and training these organizations can become much more effective in preventing crime and making rural communities feel safer.

Those of us living in rural communities do not want to take the law into our own hands. If we wanted careers in law enforcement, we would have applied to be police officers. We would gladly hand off home protection to the authorities if we felt it was effective.

Right now though, 40 minute response times coupled with unreasonably long police response times makes us feel we must take care of things ourselves.

Warnings won’t make us stop protecting our households and property with whatever means are at our disposal. Only substantial changes to how we deal with rural crime will do that.

Until the change happens, we are on a collision course with tragedy as somebody is going to die.

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Support Edouard Maurice

UPDATE:

The rally in support of the Maurice family will be held at the Okotoks courthouse on Friday, March 9 at 9am. A map to the location is below and some more details can be found at the facebook event page linked here.

Along with the account and email address below, a “fundrayzr” page has been set up for the Maurice family as well. Click here. 

 

 

Edouard (Eddie) Maurice of the Okotoks area is facing three charges of aggravated assault along with firearm charges due to an event that happened on his property early in the morning of Saturday February 24.

As has become an unfortunate trend in Canada, the victim is treated as the criminal should they choose to defend their family and property from intruders.

Defending one’s property and family should not lead to imprisonment and possible bankruptcy.

While Maurice’s case works through the court system, a great deal of financial and emotional pressure will be placed on Maurice and his family. Legal fees and living expenses will become acute as time is consumed with his defense.

That is why friends and supporters are raising funds to ease these burdens on the Maurice family in the months to come in a trust fund.

A trust account at TD Bank has been set up by Travis Dunn (family friend) which will gather and hold funds on behalf of Maurice.

Donations can be made to any branch of TD to account number 8079-6142303 and e transfers can be sent to helpeddiemaurice@gmail.com

A rally is being organized to show support for Eddie Maurice on the morning of Friday March 9 at the Okotoks court house where Maurice will be appearing that day. I will add details for the rally as I get them.

Financial support is welcome and critical.

Showing support through the rally and online helps too. We need to let the Maurice family know that fellow Albertans will stand by them even if the “justice” system may not.

Rural Albertans are tired of being victimized by criminals and being victimized by the system when they try to defend themselves. Rural crime rates are exploding and people can’t be expected to wait up to 40 minutes for aid to arrive. Self-defense of family and property is essential.

Please consider sending some funds to help the Maurice family and try to find time to come to the rally. This is so important to the Maurice family and all of us.

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