RCMP Sgt. Stephen Rose presented to Houston mayor and council on Dec. 4, reporting several trends in their case files.
“We’re noticing some pretty distinct changes,” said Sgt. Rose, speaking of the RCMP files since 2010.
Drug offences have decreased to almost half the number of files in 2010, moving from 26 files in 2010 to 17 files so far this year, Sgt. Rose said.
Break and enter cases and general property crime have both decreased over the past three years, but there’s an increase in common assaults to the point that we’ve nearly doubled since 2010, he said.
That’s a bit concerning but it’s a type of offence outside of RCMP control, because we can never predict when or who is going to be involved in physical assaults, said Sgt. Rose.
Preventing that is extremely challenging and sometimes it comes down to dealing with other aggravating factors like alcohol, he added.
Sgt. Rose says that motor vehicle offences and crashes are increasing and will likely continue through December.
Impaired driving and drunk in public offences have significantly increased – criminal code impaired increasing from 19 last year to 33 this year and 24 hour driving prohibitions from 18 last year to 36 this year so far, nearly doubling through positive enforcement efforts, said Sgt. Rose.
Mayor Bill Holmberg says that scares him a bit, but noted it also hasn’t been policed nearly as hard before.
“So good on you,” Holmberg said to Sgt. Rose.
Sgt. Rose agreed that one of the biggest reasons for the increases in impaired driving and 24 hour prohibition files is because it’s something they’ve focused on enforcing to try to make the roads safer.
“I think increases there is actually a good thing, because we’re taking that risk off the roadway,” Sgt. Rose said, adding that he’d like to see it continue to go up until people realize it’s not acceptable, and hopefully in a year to two it should go down again as people start calling a friend and making ride arrangements.
There’s been a decrease in bail violations, said Sgt. Rose, again because it’s something RCMP has targeted and monitored closely.
Sgt. Rose says that when he first arrived there was a number of breaches but now those people are no longer breaching because they’ve ended up with custodial sentences and are no longer in the community.
Finally, Sgt. Rose asked mayor and council to consider what they’d like RCMP to prioritize and target next year, saying he’d like to consult with them early next year and begin forming next year’s priorities.