A police crackdown in Edmonton’s core may have pushed crime north, where some Griesbach residents are complaining about a spike in thefts and vandalism.
Griesbach Community League president Carl Knowler says residents have been posting frequently on social media about crime in their neighbourhoods, and some are at the point of questioning whether they want to stay in the community.
“There’s a lot of frustration,” he says. “You know, residents saying they’d love the community … but they’re getting tired of the crime and the theft and just wondering whether it’s worth it, staying there.”
Knowler says residents are seeing thefts from garages in particular, as well as food from community gardens. The community has also seen some of its military monuments vandalized, with plaques being stolen by people who think they can “get money for the metal,” he says. Community mailboxes are regularly getting pried open, Knowler adds, and Amazon packages stolen off front porches.
“Personally, this past Christmas, somebody dropped off a box of chocolates in our mailbox, and before we could get to it, they had been taken,” he says.
Knowler says he’s noticed an uptick in crime in the past year and a half, particularly since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, which is not unique to Griesbach.
But the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) crime map shows a current hotspot in the community, especially along 137th Avenue and around the Northgate transit centre on 97th Street. EPS North West Branch Inspector Kevin Berge says nuisance crimes, like car break-ins, bicycle thefts, and theft from sheds and backyards, are up this year.