Crime rate stats are down but may be inaccurate

Photo: Acting Inspector Ward Johnston delivers a detailed Mayors Report on Monday night – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca

RCMP Acting Inspector Ward Johnston says the level of criminal activity has decreased over the past year.

However, the Fort St. John RCMP has recently switched their traditional paper-based data management to electronic based, and the results may not be accurate.

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Over 1500 files from 2008 are still open investigations, and have not been updated into the new database. So, Johnston says he doesn’t want to draw conclusions from the 2007 and 2008 comparison numbers. The numbers he can deliver on, he says, is the total calls for service and detachment prisoner count.

In 2007 the RCMP received 15,684 calls for service, while the numbers decreased in ’08 by 6 percent to 14,749. The detachment held 1,939 prisoners in 2007 and 49 less prisoners in 2008.

His report finds false alarms and criminal record checks take up a majority of the RCMP’s time. He says out of 300 criminal record checks, almost 100 are not picked up.

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Johnston also says the detachment has 11 vacant positions. Three are maternity, four are due to injuries and four are being transferred or are waiting to be filled.