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High risk offenders - public notifications

The Calgary Police Service notifies the public about high risk offenders who are going to be released from a correctional facility into the community.

How the public is notified about high risk offenders

Notifications are usually issued by way of a press release. In most cases, the public notification will also be posted on the Solicitor General and Public Security's high risk offender listing, along with a photograph of the offender. Offenders usually remain on the web site for a minimum period of one year. Please note that only the most serious offenders who are deemed to present a risk of significant harm to the safety of the public are listed.

How do I find out about offenders in my neighbourhood?

Public notifications are done in the cities/towns that high risk offenders who meet the criteria will be residing, but specific neighborhoods or addresses are not provided. Offenders can change addresses or be mobile when they offend, and therefore a specific address is not deemed to be necessary to achieve the purpose of the public notification. ​The public is encouraged to be generally vigilant about their safety and identifying a specific address may lead to a false sense of security that someone is not living near a high risk offender.

Why we issue public notifications

Section 32 of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) allows the police to notify the public about offenders that are going to be released from a correctional facility into the community. This is a complex process that has been carefully designed to protect Albertans, while also preserving the privacy rights of individual offenders. Generally, notification occurs when an individual is believed to present a risk of significant harm to the safety of the public, an affected group, or an individual.

Since 1996 the Solicitor General and Public Security, Correctional Service of Canada, and police services have worked together to ensure the success of the notification program. This includes sharing all available information about offenders, meeting regularly, and conducting in-depth assessments of the risk that these individuals pose to the community.
The purpose of this section is to provide information on high risk offenders to help protect Alberta communities and to enhance public safety. The primary intent of the information is to enable members of the public to take suitable precautionary measures.

The Alberta Solicitor General provides information on high risk offenders​ with photos of the offender. The idea of placing high risk offender photos on the internet is controversial; While many support the idea as something that allows people to take an active role in their personal safety, critics feel that such a public disclosure could lead to vigilantism.

Notifications about pedophiles

The National Sex Offender Registry​ has a database that has information on all sex offenders in Canada that are under a court order to be registered as a Sex Offender. This information is not available to the public, although the database is available to police agencies for cases that meet the criteria for searches to be completed.

If a pedophile meets the criteria for a high risk offender, he or she will be identified in the high risk offender list​. However, FOIP does not protect offenders based upon their offences as it is a broad reaching legislation that strictly outlines the criteria that must be met for release of information in every case. Furthermore, In some cases there may be a court ordered publication ban limiting the information that can be released to protect the identity of the victim. If the offender is a family member or someone close to the victim where identification of the offender would identify the victim, the offender’s name is not released in order to protect the victim, not the offender.