Inspector Pat Egan discussed the challenges the RCMP detachment face as the energy sector grows and the population increases.
Egan says there are only 50 officers assigned to the Fort St. John detachment. This makes it hard for young officers, who often come straight from the academy, to respond to the average of 14,000 calls per year, particularly within rural areas.
With all the young transit workers coming into the community, Egan says a large appetite for drugs is likely to follow. Egan also anticipate an increase in domestic violence, assaults and serious collisions which fall under the criminal code.
“Needless to say, with all that’s going on in the area, we’re very engaged in discussions about the potential increase of crime,” Egan said.
Cpl. Jodi Shelkie from the Crime Prevention Unit focused on crime prevention techniques for local businesses, although there was a particular focus on internal fraud and theft. Shelkie advised those who attended the luncheon to keep an eye on their business’s books, even if the bookkeeper is some close to the employer like a family member or close friend.
“The number of times I had to go in to investigate fraudulent activity by somebody’s mother-in-law or a nephew taking things from the backroom… The checks and balances you have are really for everyone in the business,” Shelki reiterated.
She also advises the employer to openly discuss the new crime prevention techniques and explain their purpose with the employees before implementation, and to clarify it’s “not a personal attack on any employee”. Shelki says keeping an open dialogue and open door could lead to an employee tipping the employer off about an internal crime being perpetrated under their nose.
“If you suspect that something has happened, make sure you keep good notes,” Shelki adds.
Wrapping up the event were Cst. Bradley VanDine and Cst. Kevin Marques, explaining the ins and outs of Cops for Cancer and how business leader in the community can get involved.
The ‘Tour de North’ is in support of the Canadian Cancer Society and runs from September 12 -18, beginning in Prince George and ending in Prince Rupert. So far, the campaign has raised $37 million, with $320 thousand being raised last year alone.
The funds are primarily donated to “the most outstanding childhood caner research projects and clinical trials, the award-winning summer recreation program, Camp Goodtimes, and a range of other services for children with cancer and their families.”