By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Sturgeon County – Crime was down or holding at previous levels in Sturgeon County in 2011. That was the word from Morinville RCMP Staff Sargent Mac Richards to County Council Feb. 14. Richards delivered his quarterly policing report as well as a year in review for 2011.
“In comparison to last quarter (July – September) it was pretty much on par, if not a little slower than the last quarter,” Richards said, adding many of the individual crime statistics in 2011 were the lowest the County experienced in the past five years. “The numbers are lower but the population is growing. I take that as a positive, too.”
Statistics submitted with Tuesday’s Council package show crime down in all areas other than assaults, possession of stolen goods, and thefts over $5,000. Assaults in Sturgeon County during 2011 were at a five-year high of 214, compared to 170 in 2010, a figure of concern to the detachment commander. Possession of stolen goods accounted for 68 incidences in 2011, nine more than in 2010. Thefts over $5,000 saw a slight rise from 73 in 2010 to 76 in 2011.
In total, the RCMP responded to 8,726 calls for service last year, down slightly from the 9,597 calls for service police responded to in Sturgeon County in 2010.
While crime was down across the board throughout the County, some areas saw a marked decrease in 2011. Break and enters were down by 40 per cent from 102 incidences reported in 2010 to 62 in 2011. Thefts from vehicles, a crime common throughout Sturgeon County and neighbouring municipalities over the past five years, fell from 93 files in 2010 to 67 in 2011.
Traffic fatalities up
One area of particular concern to RCMP is the number of traffic fatalities in the County. Last year saw a five-year high of 10 traffic fatalities on County roads. Richards indicated the majority of those were due to driver error.
Another 45 people were injured in collisions in the County in 2011. Total collisions were up more than 100 incidences from 617 in 2010 to 719 in 2011. The five-year peak for collisions occurred in 2008 when there were 732 collisions.
Richards said in April of 2011 he implemented a traffic day wherein members would dedicate an entire shift to traffic matters.
“We did about five days,” Richards said, adding a total of 43 charges were laid in the five-day period. “Warrants were executed and impaired drivers were detected that otherwise wouldn’t have been.”
The Staff Sargent said he feels traffic is an area the detachment can make some progress, particularly in taking even more impaired drivers off the road.
Richards will return to Council Mar. 13 to get Council’s direction on policing the County this year.