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A Defence lawyer's perspective on issues in criminal law

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Do Sting Operations Make Calgary Safer?

August 4, 2015

Following a sting operation conducted over a month long period, the Calgary Police announced last week that they made 23 arrests and laid 46 individual charges related to property crimes in certain targeted neighborhoods.

Some of those arrested had pre-existing warrants, and the new charges laid against some of those captured by the sting operation included possession of cannabis and possession of stolen property under $5,000.

While there is no doubt some relief felt in the neighborhoods where these thefts were becoming increasingly common, one might question the necessity of these sting operations in the first place given the overall low crime rates throughout Calgary.

Though the specific details of this operation were not released, in this type of operation Calgary Police or other law enforcement agencies will leave valuable items in conspicuous places and wait for them to be stolen. As the theft is occurring, officers will move in and make an arrest.

By some interpretations, this could be considered a form of entrapment, or the police encouraging criminal activities simply so they can make arrests.

It remains to be seen whether or not the arrests effected during this sting operation will even reduce the petty crimes the police set out to prevent, as there is no way of knowing whether any of the people caught in the sting operation were in fact committing similar crimes when the targets weren't made so obvious and enticing by law enforcement.

This entry was posted on August 4, 2015

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