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Posted: November 7, 2017

Cranbrook RCMP officers busier than last year

The year 2017 continues to be a busier year than 2016 when it comes to law enforcement in and around the Key City.

Cranbrook RCMP Detachment commander S/Sgt. Hector Lee reported 2017 third quarter statistics to City of Cranbrook council last night, noting calls for service in the city and rural area are up nine per cent over last year, with 6,599 up to the end of September, compared to 6,079 in 2016.

S/Sgt Hector Lee

“I was hoping to have better results” compared to second quarter statistics, Lee told council, with several statistical categories showing increases activity.

However, one area that was down over last year in the third quarter was total person offences, such as assaults, sexual assaults, robbery, threats etc. RCMP handled 101 such cases this year compared to 121 last year, a 17% decrease.

However, S/Sgt. Lee explained the increase is partly due to the third party reporting program implemented this year, where sexual assaults are reported but not investigated at the request of victims.

“With more awareness and confidence in local police we will see more people come to the police” so sexual assaults can be investigated, Lee said.

An area of criminal behavior that saw a major spike in the third quarter is property related offences such as break and enters, thefts, mischief to property etc.

Officers attended to 297 calls between July and August, from 204 last year – a 31% increase.

Thefts, with 199 in the third quarter, are up 69% over last year (118).

S/Sgt. Lee told council most of the thefts occurred in August, at the same time known prolific offenders returned to the community.

He added a few weeks ago “the groups we were after” were “rounded up” and there is expectation that the number of thefts will decline.

Another area showing an increase over last year is ‘other Criminal Code’ offences, such as causing a disturbance, breach/bail violations, firearms offences, public mischief etc.

There was a 28% increase in the third quarter of 2017, with 138 reported, compared to 99 in 2016.

Lee explained that astute police work resulted in a surge of breach of conditions or bail violations charges – with a 59% increase in the quarter.

An area of marked decrease is in Controlled Drugs & Substances Act files. The total drug files for the detachment in the third quarter was 53 compared to 73 in 2016 – a 27% decrease.

“Luckily we’re not looking at epidemic proportions like in bigger centres,” Lee said, referring to the opioid crisis.

Another area with fewer files so far this year is motor vehicle accidents, with 116 so far in 2017, compared to 126 last year at this time.

Lee said he is happy to see a decrease in collisions involving alcohol, with five so far in 2017 compared to 15 last year.

Impaired driving charges are also down so far in 2017, with 30 so far, compared to 56 last year – a 46% decrease.

Roadside suspensions (24 hours to 30 days) are the exact same for both years – at 17.

Lee told council his officers have conducted more check stops that last year but “we are actually catching fewer impaired drivers, which is a good thing.”

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