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Mayor of oilpatch capital says stop blaming industry for everything

Edmonton police chief will ask city council for 80 more officers, saying a crime spike could be linked to the downturn in the oilpatch.


October 2, 2015
by The Canadian Press

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The mayor of Alberta’s oilpatch capital says she wishes Edmonton’s mayor and police chief would stop blaming her area for the city’s rising crime rates.

Melissa Blake, mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, says she’s disappointed with Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht and Mayor Don Iveson and would welcome their apology for comments they made this week.

Knecht said he will be asking city council for 80 more officers, saying a spike in crime could be linked to a downturn in the oilpatch.

He said a lot of people are coming back to Edmonton from Fort McMurray and Cold Lake and are sitting around in Edmonton waiting for the price of oil to go back up so they can go back to work.

Ivenson said the downtown in the economy means Edmonton ends up policing “northern Alberta’s problem children.”

Blake calls their comments “unjust.”

“To say the stuff that happens in Fort McMurray causes impacts here in Edmonton directly is just not right,” she says. “When it comes to crime rates in 2015, overall our crime is down.

“It seems like we’re an easy target but I’m here to say we’re not that easy to blame. Prove it.”

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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