Trent Ernst, Editor
Despite some discussion of rising rates of crime in town, that wasn’t the case, says Sergeant Craig Learning, Detachment Commander for the Tumbler Ridge RCMP.
In his annual report to council, Learning says that there were 1022 files and calls for service in 2014, which is up two files from the year before, which saw 1020 calls.
Some types of crimes were up, including Offenses Against Persons (91, compared to 79 the year before), Traffic Violations (48, compared to 45), Provincial Statute Violations (130 versus 87) and Offenses Against Property (145 versus 123). This latter category includes “break and enters, arson, mischief, willful damage to vehicles, theft from vehicles…” says Learning.
Down were drug charges (15 compared to 19) and bylaw/traffic/others, including other Criminal Code Offenses and Other Federal Statute Violations (522, down from 556 the year before). ” I wouldn’t be naive enough to say that’s shows a decline in drug use,” he says.
These figures don’t take into account bulk-file statistics under Traffic Moving and Written Warnings, which also includes complaints about snowmobiles and ATVs.
Learning points out that not every case resulted in charges, nor was even of a criminal nature. This is most noticeable in the Bylaw/Traffic/Other Non-specified category. “That list is so huge; it’s basically a catch all. There’s hundreds here. Motor vehicle incidents, missing persons, property found, abandoned vehicles. There’s literally hundreds of them. Most of the files are non-criminal.”
2014 also saw two members leave—Constable Doug Erickson went to Atlin and Constable Joe Mogg went to Prince George. They have been replaced by Constables Andrew McElwain and Wilhelm (Skip) Scheepers.
Learning says he wants to start planning for policing priorities in conjunction with the community. “These would focus on community-based initiatives,” he says. “Policing doesn’t always have to be enforcement measures, it can be prevention measures. DARE is a program that pays off down the road by teaching youth the dangers of drugs. Crimestoppers is a program that we’d like to see rejuvenated. I can count on one hand the number of Crimestopper tips that have come in since I’ve been here.”
Other initiatives that the RCMP is looking at is revitalizing the Citizens on Patrol group, as well as looking at the Auxiliary Constable Program, which was quite popular in town a number of years back. Learning says that the Auxiliary Constable Program would be a wonderful thing to see locally.
“Whether anything comes of it, I don’t know,” says Learning, “but these are things we want to look at.”