RCMP clearance rate jumps in Q1 crime report

S/Sgt. Barry Graham reports that clearance rates by charge are up, attributes increase to hard work of local RCMP members.

RCMP reported first quarter crime statistics to Cranbrook city council on Monday evening.

RCMP reported first quarter crime statistics to Cranbrook city council on Monday evening.

Clearance rates by charge for drug and other criminal code files are up significantly, according to RCMP S/Sgt. Barry Graham, who presented first-quarter crime statistics to Cranbrook City Council on Monday evening.

Total drug files are up 38 per cent, however, drug file clearance is up 50 per cent, while non-traffic cleared files by charge are also up by 38 per cent.

“There are a number of different things we can do, whether it’s looking for more statements from different people, extra canvassing, just how long and how much you invest in the investigation,” said S/Sgt. Graham.

“Sometimes, there are low odds, but sometimes you get that ‘jinkies, a clue’, like Scooby Doo and you move on. Our members are learning more, we’ve had some quality supervision, good direction and it’s helping people keep on these files.”

Calls for service within the city was down four per cent, however, there was a 17 per cent jump in calls for service in rural areas.

Person offences, such as assaults, sex assaults, assaults with a weapon, robbery, threats, criminal harassment, was down 13 per cent. Property related offences, including break and enter, mischief to property, thefts and thefts from vehicles, were down by 22 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 were down by 30 per cent.

Inside city limits, there were no fatal motor vehicle accidents (MVA), however, injury MVA’s jumped by 150 per cent.

“Our injury accidents went up substantially, about 150 per cent from 4 to 10, possibly due to weather conditions over that period this year,” said S/Sgt. Graham. “Property damage from motor vehicle accidents also increased, same thing. Some varying road conditions that we had this year caused havoc for some of our drivers.”

Statistics indicate a 54 per cent rise from both total injury MVAs and reported property damage and a 15 per cent increase in alcohol-involved MVAs.

“One troubling statistic is the alcohol involvement in our motor vehicle accidents,” S/Sgt. Graham continued. “We went from zero in this quarter last year to six this year. It could be a number of things contributed to that. We have had a lot more visibility in our patrols…what that does is improves our response times as well.”

RCMP removed 19 impaired drivers, an increase of 12 per cent, and roadside suspensions were also up by 17 per cent.

Traffic tickets issued were down by 35 per cent, however, total warnings and orders were up by 79 per cent.

After questioning from Councillor Ron Popoff, Graham also reported that an annual mud bogging event during an April long weekend out at Lake Koocanusa was relatively tame.

“Uneventful from us as a response,” S/Sgt. Graham reported. “We had increased visibility there. We had assigned members to proactively actively patrol the area. We scouted out the area before and knew where there were troubled spots and and tried to identify those problems on the way in.

“Overall, it was pretty good.”