RCMP targets prolific offenders

Local RCMP and Houston council have identified the policing priorities for 2013, including traffic and prolific offenders.

Local RCMP and Houston council have identified the policing priorities for 2013.

RCMP Sgt. Rose says their primary concern is traffic, specifically speeding at the east end of town, distracted driving and seat belts.

Sgt. Rose says the Houston council identified those concerns and RCMP is enforcing them to try to deter those problems.

Houston council also asked that RCMP look at crime reduction, but Sgt. Rose says they can’t really do that because of the low numbers.

Instead, they are focusing their attention on prolific offenders, because there is a small group, about six to 12 people, that generate the vast majority of RCMP calls, Sgt. Rose said.

“So what we do is we identify an offender each week, and then the members basically diligently babysit, for lack of a better phrase, that offender for seven days straight,” said Sgt. Rose.

Sgt. Rose says they check prolific offenders’ curfew, check conditions, make sure they’re not drunk or somewhere they’re not supposed to be, and make sure they are where they should be.

He adds that they have already arrested a number of the prolific offenders several times for breaches and as a result some are getting fairly long jail sentences.

The idea is to get them to start abiding by the law, leave town or go to jail, because if they deal with that group, RCMP will be free to focus on other, more proactive policing, Sgt. Rose said.

RCMP have been getting a fair number of 911 calls since the new system came in, but many of them are false alarms, such as pocket dials, kids playing with the phone or just general misdials, said Sgt. Rose.

Sgt. Rose says it has become very time consuming because RCMP are obligated by law to locate the caller and make sure they are okay.

“That becomes very time consuming if the person is on a forestry road in the middle of nowhere,” he said.

Previously RCMP have settled pocket dials and mis-calls by calling the person back, but he changed that because it’s too easy for a person other than the original caller to pick up the phone and say everything is okay, Sgt. Rose said.

Police attendance is now mandatory for all 911 calls, and depending on the response at the door, police likely want to come into the home and do a safety scan.