View Full Version : Crime comes with territory in booming Alberta

03-09-2007, 08:24 PM
Crime comes with territory in booming Alberta

Mon, September 3, 2007

There's a bloody Battle of Alberta brewing - and it's not today's Labour Day Classic between the Eskimos and Stampeders.

Edmonton and Calgary are both on pace for a murderous year, with the provincial rivals each racking up 22 homicides so far.

"I hope the football game is as close," said retired University of Alberta criminology professor Keith Spencer.

"I often attribute it (the surging homicide rate) to the great success of the two cities and how that's attracted a lot of people for good reasons and bad reasons."

Edmonton recorded its 21st and 22nd homicides of 2007 early yesterday, after an apparent shooting at a community hall after-hours party.

Calgary tallied its 22nd homicide Thursday, when a 31-year-old man was fatally stabbed near a city bike path.

The deadly violence in booming Alberta is proof that crime isn't only fuelled by poverty and tough economic times, Spencer said.

"When you have rapidly escalating economic good times, associated with that is rapidly escalating crime," he told Sun Media.

Edmonton's homicides have ranged from spousal to drug- and gang-related, said EPS spokesman Dean Parthenis. "It's all over the map."

Gary Hunt, whose son Josh was killed at a house party in 2006, said the justice system is partly to blame for not holding morally bankrupt Albertans accountable.

"Edmonton and Calgary are neck and neck," he said. "It's truly a shame there has to be one, let alone 22 in each city."

Edmonton had 36 homicides last year - down slightly from a record-setting 39 in 2005.

Meanwhile, Calgary - which set a record for homicides in 1992 with 32 - recorded 25 in 2006.

"They're finally starting to realize they have a gang problem there and it's starting to manifest itself," said staff Sgt. Peter Ratcliff, president of the Edmonton Police Association.