Policing has been through some challenges in Cranbrook over the last few months while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
S/Sgt. Barry Graham delivered the second-quarter crime statistics to city council on Monday night, which saw a reduction in calls for service over the last few months, as person and property offences are also both down 28 and 26 per cent, respectively.
Other criminal code offences, such as causing a disturbance, breaching bail conditions, public mischief and more, were down 31 per cent.
Clearance rates were slightly unchanged for person, property and other offences, while drug clearance rates were down by 15 per cent.
“At that time, we had changed how we did business, basically we collapsed all our proactive units and everybody went back to general duty policing,” said S/Sgt. Graham. “So we lost a lot of the proactive enforcement; half of each week, we would have everybody in uniform for half of one shift and the other half would stay home and tele-work and do some of the administrative stuff.”
Motor vehicle accidents were down, while there was a slight uptick in property damage accidents. Both drinking and driving offences, as well as traffic violations and notices were also down.
Council inquiries focused on police responses out-of-country visitors who aren’t following quarantine protocols, the ongoing opioid crisis and staffing levels at the Cranbrook detachment.
S/Sgt. Graham said education, rather than enforcement, has been the direction from headquarters in order to curb ‘hazardous behaviours’ and that members have spent a lot of time making sure they are up-to-date on the latest health protocols and guidelines.
On staffing, S/Sgt. Graham said the Cranbrook detachment currently has nine members who are ‘in some way’ restricted from working. The pandemic has also interfered with plans to fill some supervisor vacancies.
A replacement for former Sgt. Chris Dodds has been identified, however, two corporal positions remain unfilled, according to S/Sgt. Graham.
“We’re close to the selection stage for the two corporal positions, which will help, but it is a challenging time right now,” S/Sgt. Graham said. “Our resources are stretched, and it’s been quite a busy month…but we have a core of people that are coming together, coming in to help out, days off, long days and we’re hoping to ride the storm out.”