2016 has been a busy year for police in rural Alberta and the Town of Three Hills is no exception.
RCMP Sergeant Gabriel Graham appeared before town council on December 12 and delivered the detachment's crime statistics for the year to date.
Figures that stood out were a jump of more than 50 per cent in break and enters and a 27 per cent rise in thefts of motor vehicles.
Graham concedes some of it could be a reflection of the poor economy, but he also blames 'visiting' criminals from the Calgary area.
"We are close enough to the major centres that it makes it easy for travelling criminals coming out from the cities to victimize members of the community here and make it back to the city," he explained.
"We're analyzing the crimes and trying to link crimes between detachments," he continued. "We're finding a lot of similarities and we're starting to link a lot more of them and develop more suspects at least."
Three Hills has an active Citizens on Patrol program and is in the process of setting up a Rural Crime Watch for outside of the town as police seek help from the public in preventing break-ins and other crime.
"People out there are being a little bit more vigilant and they're watching a lot more," Graham told 99.5 Drum FM. "They're keeping an eye on the neighbors' houses and they're reporting a lot more, and that's kind of what we want. We want a lot more people calling in reporting suspicious activity and the person that doesn't look like they belong in the community."
While property crimes are up, drug trafficking, possession and production are all down slightly in Three Hills for 2016.