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Posted: August 21, 2015

Calls for RCMP up slightly; ticket count leaps up

Cranbrook RCMP report a two per cent increase in calls for service half way through 2015.

Presenting the detachment’s second quarter report (2015) to City of Cranbrook council August 10, Acting Sgt. Scott Milliken noted that at 3,089 calls for service, city Mounties responded to 61 more calls so far this year than for the same period in 2014.

“It’s a very small increase, overall,” he said.

One area the detachment recorded an increase in complaints is “person offences” such as assaults, sexual assaults, assault with a weapon, robbery, threats and criminal harassment, Milliken pointed out, with 243 so far this year compared to 195 last year.

However, the increase isn’t “an alarming rate,” he told council.

Property related offences such as break, enter and theft, mischief to property, thefts and thefts from vehicles are down two per cent, from 369 last year to 360 so far this year.

Trafficking and possession of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs listed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) files are up 17% so far this year over last, with 27 files opened compared to 23 in 2014.

Impaired (alcohol/drug) driving offences are down nine per cent so far this year over 2014 (63 compared to 69) and like last year, the city has avoided fatality motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) so far. There have been eight injury MVAs so far this year compared to 18 in 2014 – a 44% decrease.

The most glaring statistic in Sgt. Milliken’s report is a 68% increase in violation traffic tickets, with 434 handed out in the first two quarters of 2014 compared to 258 for the same period in 2014.

Milliken suggested the decrease in MVAs might have freed up more time for officers to hand out tickets but also pointed to a single officer’s efforts.

“We’ve had one member dedicated (to writing tickets) and he has brought back a big return,” he said.

That said, Milliken told council that same officer is now taking sick leave and the numbers will likely decrease.

A voice in the council chambers suggested the ill officer had “writer’s cramp.”

Council members expressed their gratitude and support for the city’s RCMP detachment.

“The RCMP have done an amazing job this year” on drug files, said Coun. Danielle Cardozo.

“They seem to be on top of the new guys coming into town,” Milliken said of the Cranbrook-Kimberley drug squad.

Mayor Lee Pratt questioned Milliken about what is being done to curb distracted driving, such as texting/phoning while operating a motor vehicle.

“I see so many people on their cell phones and texting. I’m thinking there is a gold mine” in tickets, he said.

Milliken said the now ill dedicated officer’s stats included tickets for distracted driving.

“I know the guys are working hard out there,” he concluded.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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