Alcohol-involved MVAs are way up: RCMP

S/Sgt. Hector Lee delivers second quarter crime statistics to mayor and council.

Mayor and council got an update on second quarter crime statistics from S/Sgt. Hector Lee on Monday night at a city council meeting.

Calls for service within the city are down seven per cent, while calls for service in rural areas are up four per cent.

Digging into the numbers, the stats can paint a picture.

The immediate figure that jumps out is the number of alcohol-involved motor vehicle accidents and charges stemming from MVA incidents — which are up 21 per cent over this time last year.

S/Sgt. Lee says cutting down and eliminating alcohol-involved MVAs comes down to a culture change.

“We can enforce all we want but it’s not going to change if you don’t try to bring some awareness and attention to it, whether it be at the earliest levels when the kids are in school,” S/Sgt. Lee said.

“We do have the DARE program, we do have the PARTY program and I think that helps because a lot of our accidents where alcohol is involved, it’s not just young people, the spectrum is anywhere from teenage to senior citizens.”

S/Sgt. Lee adds that it’s a frustrating situation.

“If people seeing red and blue lights a little bit more consistently, they’d be a little more conscious of those things,” S/Sgt. Lee said. “To me, it’s not just a slap in the face to us as the police or the justice system, it’s a slap to the face of the community as well.”

There has been no change in the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) at 35 so far, however, Immediate Roadside Suspensions are down by 30 per cent, from 16 this year compared to 23 at this time last year.

Arson is another stat that has taken a significant jump, with five incidents this quarter, as compared to none last year, but other property offences, such as break and enters, mischief, and frauds are down.

However, thefts are up by six per cent.

Another startling statistic that Lee noted was that mental health calls are up from 176 to 265 this year.

“It’s been a trend that’s going up. We all know that it’s going up,” S/Sgt. Lee said.

Person offences such as assaults, sex assaults, assault with a weapon, robbery, threats and criminal harassment are down 15 per cent. Other Criminal Code offences such as causing a disturbance, Breach/Bail violations firearms offences, public mischief, obstructing a police officer and counterfeit currency are also down five per cent.

In terms of dealing with criminal files, with 91 fewer files than this time last year, S/Sgt. Lee reported a  clearance rate of 39 per cent.

The number of traffic tickets issued has gone down by 34 per cent, with written notice and orders going up 75 per cent.

Cranbrook mayor Lee Pratt commended S/Sgt. Lee and the work of the detachment.

“Since Sgt. Lee came on board, he’s made quite a few changes at the detachment there and I think we see it,” Pratt said. “Every quarter we see improvement there, and I think a lot of it is due to him and what he’s brought to the city.”