Criminal code offences are slightly down from last year. Notably, robberies are down 56 per cent, which Inspector Pat Egan believes is a result of the RCMP’s Crime Reduction Strategy. The Crime Reduction Unit’s work is also being championed as responsible for the significant drop in residential break and enters, from over 160 reports to under 120.
However, break and enters into businesses have gone up, from almost 60 reports to just under 80, thanks to a string of incidents near the end of 2011. Egan says the parties responsible have been apprehended and are now making their way through the courts.
Thefts from vehicles have reduced 83 per cent from last year, which Egan says has a lot to do with police targetting people who have violated their bail conditions, as well a repeat offenders. Theft numbers are down, with shoplifting down another 30 per cent this year, while reports of vandalism are up, from just over 400 to around 450.
Looking at the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, arrests from possession of both cocaine and marijuana are up, which Egan says comes from an emphasis being placed on general duty officers to get engaged in enforcement. “We’re starting to see some benefits to that, with those increased numbers,” he added, noting that marijauna numbers went up from around eighty to almost 120.
While cannabis trafficking is down somewhat, cocaine trafficking is up, as Egan explains the drug section has had some challenges this year, with a key player transferring out of the already small unit. The section has been restaffed and Egan says, “I think we’re already starting to see a turnaround, and we expect to see those numbers improve in the coming year.”
Before the introduction of Immediate Roadside Prohibition in the province this year, impaired drivers were charged under the Criminal Code. However, as that legislation is currently on hold, Egan explains the numbers for impaired drivers are “all over the map”. People given warnings, under the Motor Vehicle Act, are down 47 per cent, whereas the number of impaired drivers taken through criminal court is up 13 per cent, from over 200 to about 250.
Fatalities from motor vehicle collisions are up 50 per cent, but the numbers are small. Only three fatalities in 2011 brought that number up. Egan also added that the number of alcohol related crashes are down in our area, so the fatalities and the slightly higher number of injuries are due to bad driving, which he says, “speaks to the need to ensure that we focus on that issue in out annual performance plan.”
Fort St. John RCMP had their strategy meeting with City Council approximately two weeks ago, where it was agreed that traffic is a priority in the community in 2012.
Liquor disturbances, including public intoxication, disturbances and noise complaints are down. RCMP dealt with over 700 instances each of public intoxication and disturbance in 2011, down from between 900 and 1,000 each in 2010. False alarms were up 17 per cent last year, and Egan says he is working with city staff to be more effective when dealing with false alarms, and believes those numbers will turn around.
Fort St. John’s crime rate is higher than the provincial average, but Egan says that is typical for a bigger city center in the north. The ratio of officer to population is lower than average, and the case load per member is higher than average.
Annual Performance Plan Consultations will begin this April, and it’s likely the bike patrol will be back on this summer.
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