Cranbrook RCMP are going to continue stepping up traffic enforcement this year.
Cpl Pat Prefontaine said traffic is one of the local detachment’s top priorities and figures prominently in the plan for 2013 and 2014.
Prefontaine presented first quarter crime statistics last week in council. The number of tickets handed out for traffic violations rose to 141 in the first quarter from 87 last year, a 62 per cent change. Total notices and orders, as well as total detachment tickets also rose by 55 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.
Coun. Sharon Cross said she was glad to see traffic was a priority.
Total calls to the RCMP were similar in the first quarter this year when compared to the same period of 2012. From January to March there were 1,861 calls to service, a slight decrease from last years number of 1,918 for the same period.
Prefontaine said there weren’t any real surprises in the report other than a 68 per cent increase in mischiefs. There were 99 mischief reports so far this year compared to 59 last year. On the other hand, break-ins were down by 27 per cent, with 16 happening this year compared with 22 last year.
Prefontaine said in the case of the mischief reports, there was no apparent pattern to the crimes.
“I didn’t notice any trends,” he said. “I do see groups of eight mischiefs in a day and 15 to 30 in a period of three days. We have one (day) where there is eight in the same area – tire slashing, window breaking. What we find is that when someone goes on a rampage, they keep it pretty local and they are usually on foot.”
Prefontaine also noted that one car being vandalized amounts to one file, so one vandal could cause multiple files and increase the numbers, which skews the statistics.
Coun. Denise Pallesen mentioned that council had received a letter from a resident noting there is more vandalism when the carnival is in town.
“I planned for carnival this year and that wasn’t a consideration of mine,” Prefontaine said. “I didn’t see a trend there at all as far as an increase in break-ins.”
He said there is more public drunkenness, but that is a spike and not a trend.
Police had 145 reported person offences, which include things like assaults, sexual assaults, robberies and threats, compared to last year’s 133.
For 2012 police followed three prolific offenders and this year will add a fourth person to the program. There is also a new prolific offender co-ordinator. The prolific offender program runs on the idea that 50 per cent of crimes in a community are perpetrated by 10 per cent of offenders, and so tries to deal with them in various ways.
“When we have a new prolific offender we do what’s called a lifestyle interview,” Prefontaine explained about the program. “We approach these people, do an interview and talk about their life of crime. In no uncertain terms they are told ‘we’re going to be watching you, we’re going to be doing curfew checks.’ Sometimes it is twice a night on weekends. We’re there, we’re checking to make sure they are following their conditions.”
Prefontaine said on the drug front, the drug task force is now doing multiple warrant searches per day.
“There is no lack of work,” he said.