With a lot of news revolving around break and enters and vandalism, community members have expressed concern over the crime rate in Houston. To find out more, we asked Houston RCMP detachment commander Sergeant Mark Smaill about how crime been in Houston this year.
“As of the last presentation I made to the council, the crime rate has been steady year over year, early in the year. There was some grafitti and vandalism that was brought to our attention early in the year and we followed up on that,” said Smaill.
In a presentation made to the council early this year, Smaill said that the detachment received 2,471 calls for service for Houston and Granisle in 2020.
“Similar to last year, we have been dealing with similar situations in the community. We have had to deal with situations involving drugs, mental health. Domestic violence is another type of crime that is always on our radar. Property crimes as well; we have had some break and enters this year. Although it hasn’t increased but it definitely has been happening and we want to continue holding people accountable, prevent these crimes from happening,” Smaill told Houston Today.
A detailed report on the statistics for the first quarter of 2021 is expected to come out in July. However Smaill maintained that while there hasn’t been an increase in the crime rate, the detachment is constantly working to reduce the crime rate.
He also said that the detachment has been taking several steps to improve community involvement and crime prevention/reduction efforts. These efforts include the mental health outreach collaboration with the health care centre, prolific and social offender management programs, and the currently-under-development of a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) project with the District of Houston staff.
Additionally, the Houston RCMP officers conducted three bike safety events for elementary school students and provided two presentations to the high school students in the last month, said Smaill.
He is also encouraging people to come forward if there is a concern over, especially in the industrial area, of any suspicious activity.
“I know there are people there at odd hours in the night, contractors or those starting work early in the morning, so if they do see something, they should speak up and I guess that would hold true for everywhere else as well. We do rely on the community to be our eyes and ears when we are not around,” he said.