Calgary Police data suggests Police Carding is Greatest in Diverse Neighbourhoods

May 9, 2016 – Calgary AB – The Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association (RMCLA), through an access to information request, received partial information from the Calgary Police Service (CPS) on carding (in Calgary they are called Police Check-Up Slips). For more background on the issue of carding and greater details regarding the released information, you can read our background article.

The CPS – FOIP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy) Section provided a partial reply and indicated that it would only disclose a full set of information upon payment of a more than $14,000 fee. For example, information about the number of tickets written and charges laid as a result of carding, the number of field checkup slips entered into the Police Information Management System (PIMS) and sharing with other police services was not made available.

The second set of information disclosed by CPS revealed 219,972 carding events in Calgary from 2010 to 2015. The data suggest that these check-ups have reduced from 46,081 checkup slips in 2010 to 27,735 in 2015.

The CPS data also indicates that the greatest frequency of carding occurred within districts that include neighbourhoods with high diversity and a high proportion of low income people (i.e. Districts 1 which includes such neighbourhoods as the Beltline and 5 that include neighbourhoods such as Saddletown) compared to other parts of Calgary.

The reasons why checkups appear to occur more frequently in neighborhoods of greater diversity it is difficult to ascertain because the police did not disclose more information. RMCLA believes this issue is of public interest and ought to be discussed more broadly among Calgarians.

Given carding is a matter of public interest, RMCLA requested twice and was declined to have the data released without payment. Regardless, RMCLA remains open to meet with the Calgary Police Service to publicly discuss the CPS policy, procedures, data being collected, and circumstances around carding and to foster greater clarity about carding in Calgary. Data released is below.

Check-Up Slips in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
2010 8,115 5,381 4,163 7,498 6,756 6,706 3,368 4,094 46,081
2011 7,528 6,433 4,858 5,579 5,866 4,853 3,975 3,074 42,166
2012 6,648 5,074 4,421 4,182 5403 3,869 4,093 2,552 36,242
2013 5,347 4,299 2,893 6,112 5,090 3,011 3,631 3,095 33,478
2014 5,060 4,247 2,852 4,656 7,100 3,904 3,458 2,993 34,270
2015 4,749 3,964 1,837 3,935 5,145 2,997 2,507 2,601 27,735
Total 37,447 29,398 21,024 31,962 35,360 25,340 21,032 18,409 219,972


Patrols 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
2016 173 80 80 116 108 100 88 80 825


RMCLA is grateful that CPS provided some basic information without any charge, however that information remains insufficient to answer basic questions associated with our inquiry. We hope that the CPS comments on their data and releases more data to the public in their commentary so that the public may be better informed about the issues surrounding police check-up slips.


The Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association is an Alberta organization founded to promote respect for and observance of fundamental human rights and civil liberties. Our work aims to defend and ensure the protection of individual rights, freedoms and liberties.

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