RCMP’s open letter to Alberta communities addresses ‘youth wreaking havoc’

Posted on 29/03/2019

Watch above: RCMP in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain issued a rare open letter this week about a surge in vandalism by youth. Eric Szeto reports.

EDMONTON – RCMP in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain issued an open letter to citizens on Tuesday about a “handful” of youth committing criminal acts in the last two weeks.

Officers say, since school has ended for the summer, a “small percentage of youth” have been “wreaking havoc on our communities.”

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RCMP say members have responded to more than 30 incidents of vandalism and property damage, including tipped over mailboxes, damaged playgrounds, deliberately set fires, and spray painting in a two-week period.

Officers are investigating these incidents and have arrested several youth in connection with the fires and damaged mailboxes.

Part of the open letter from RCMP reads:

“The vast majority of these incidents are occurring in the early morning hours, leaving many to wonder why these young people are roaming our streets throughout the night.  

“While summer holidays means more freedom and a break from the routine associated with school,

“this should translate to evening Slurpee runs and dips in the pool to cool off, not committing criminal acts on public or private property.”

RCMP say these issues tie up police resources that could be better used responding to emergency situations.

The open letter asks the community and parents to supervise Spruce Grove and Stony Plain youth and hold them “accountable for their whereabouts and behaviours.”

“This may include calling their children’s friends’ parents, to ensure that they are where they promised to be.  Having once been young ourselves, and being parents, we realize that sometimes, just sometimes, kids may not be entirely truthful with their parents.  The onus is on parents to monitor their activities, not police.”

“RCMP believe that long-term prevention of youth crime can only be accomplished in partnership with the community,” says Insp. Gary Graham, in a news release. “We work closely with local organizations and community services to ensure that young people who come into contact with the police, as either offenders or victims, receive the help they need to overcome challenges in their lives.”