Police focus efforts on road safety enforcement

RCMP Sergeant Rose reported quarterly statistics to the Houston council last Tuesday.

RCMP Sergeant Rose gives an oral report.

RCMP Sgt. Rose reported quarterly statistics to the Houston council last Tuesday.

Sgt. Rose says this quarter, April 1 to June 30, had decreased assaults and theft from vehicles, and increased traffic enforcement, breach charges, and charges for drinking in a public place.

Sgt. Rose gave the following statistics:

Common assaults went down from 20 in the first quarter of 2012, to 9 this past quarter.

Property crime – including theft over $5,000, theft under $5,000, mischief, and possession of stolen property – went down from 38 in 2012 to 29 this year.

Breach probation charges went up, from 5 in 2012 to 15 this year.

“We’d like to believe, and the only thing that really suggests the decrease in assaults, is the increase in breach probations that we’re pursuing,” said Sgt. Rose.

He said five percent of the population accounts for 95% of the calls for service.

“If we’re ensuring that they’re complying with their court ordered conditions, or spending time in custody, then they’re not out committing those additional offences and assaults,” he said.

Sgt. Rose says there has been an increase in impaired driving charges this quarter, from eight in 2012 to nine in 2013.

Charges for being drunk in a public place has gone up from 13 to 18.

“Primarily that’s because of the enforcement that we’ve turned our attention to,” said Sgt. Rose.

“As we see the breaches of probation and the booze enforcement go up, the assaults are going down, and that’s really good news.”

Sgt. Rose says one of the key priorities of council was road safety, so police have focused a lot of attention there.

Sgt. Rose says there has been an increase in vehicle accidents, which tends to happen in the summer because there are more people on the roadways.

Speeding charges along Highway 16 have gone up from 39 in the full 2012 year, to 59 in the first quarter this year, Sgt. Rose said.

He says police have also issued 83 violation tickets in general traffic enforcement, and 132 warnings in the last quarter.

Sgt. Rose said another council priority was reducing property crime, specifically theft from vehicles, and he thinks they are seeing some success.

He said reports of theft from vehicles initially spiked due to increased reporting, but they are starting to see the numbers decrease.

In 2012, police got 18 reports of theft from vehicles and in the first quarter of 2013, they’ve gotten 10 reports.

In 2012, there were three thefts of vehicles, and in 2013 so far, there have been zero, Sgt. Rose said.

“I can’t really explain what accounts for that, other than it’s the locked vehicles – preventing them from getting stolen,” he said.

Sgt. Rose told council there is a lot of police attention on one address in town.

He says that last year the address accounted for 12 calls for service in the first quarter and 48 total in the year; but this year police have been there 52 times in the first quarter and 97 times in the year so far.

“That’s quite a constant drain because if we’re spending all our time there, dealing with charges that come out of it, that’s time we’re not doing proactive controls, enforcement, and policing initiatives, we’re turning our attention just to a single address,” Sgt. Rose said.