Property crime and collisions on the increase

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – RCMP Staff Sergeant Mac Richards presented a policing report covering the first half of 2012 to Morinville Town Council Aug, 28, outlining the ups and downs of crime in the community.

Richards said 2012 looks very similar statistically to 2011 but some areas had seen increases.

“Property crimes are the largest single issue for the community,” Richards told Council, adding total calls for service were down in the first half of the year.

Police responded to 1,320 calls for service in Morinville between January and June. The largest increases were in the areas of thefts and collisions. Other areas with the biggest increases included assaults, vandalism and municipal complaints, the latter being composed of mostly parties and noise.

“This is not as good a start to the year as I’d hoped for,” Richards told councillors, adding summer is historically the biggest quarter for the detachment. “Over the next few weeks I’ll have a better idea of where we stand three quarters through the year.”

Council had requested of Richards and his detachment to focus on a number of areas this year. Property crime was one of those areas. In the first half of 2012, the Morinville Detachment received 49 theft complaints, down from 66 in the same period of 2011. The first six months have seen 102 mischief and vandalism complaints in Morinville, compared with 73 during the same period of 2011.

Police have dealt with nine drug-related complaints in the first half of 2012, compared with 25 in the same period of 2011. “This is an area I fully admit, as a detachment, we need to work greater on,” Richards said. “But it is not just a policing issue. It is a community issue.”

On the traffic side, criminal code complaints, including impaired and dangerous driving, resulted in 32 charges in the community, up slightly from the 28 issued in 2011 over the same period. The numbers concern Richards and his department. “As a community there are still far too many impaired driving issues,” Richards said.

On the provincial side of traffic, Morinville RCMP investigated 338 complaints and issued 184 tickets.
Richards credits the detachment’s move to allocate five dedicated traffic days per quarter where a member focuses solely on traffic matters for an entire shift as having produced results.

The first six months of 2012 saw police dealing with 61 collisions.

“This has resulted in 27 charges, but more importantly as far as my concern or my view is the visibility and education with enforcement,” he said.

Richards presentation was followed by regrets from Council on his upcoming departure from the community. Richards will be transferring to a BC detachment this fall and said he and his family will miss Morinville.

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