(Up to February 02, 2008)

Hello neighbor and welcome back to the Blotter, and what a weeks its been here in the Ridge. There is ton of news that I need to pass along to you, so lets just skip the usual really, really funny intro and get right into nuts and bolts of things.

On January 30, 2008 at 10:48 AM the police were notified of a serious Motor Vehicle Accident on Highway 52, approximately 33 kilometers north of Tumbler Ridge. A mini van carrying three passengers went head-on into a large vacuum truck. The driver of the van was pinned behind the steering wheel and the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department had to use the Jaws of Life in order to extricate the driver. The two passengers in the van walked away from the accident, however the 25 year old driver died of her injuries. The driver of the vacuum truck was uninjured in the accident.

There are a couple of observations that I made at the scene, and it would do us all well to take them into account. Observation one: The accident happened when the temperature was around -25 Celsius. At that temperature, the roads become very, very slick. You really notice this in town when you approach an intersection only to find out that it is glare ice. Same goes for the highway, except you are traveling at highway speeds.

Observation two: Please be careful of the ?snow cloud? behind a semi or other large moving vehicles. When you meet oncoming vehicles and visibility goes to zero for a second or two, make sure there is enough time and distance for you to take evasive action if necessary. One of the issues in this accident is the lane placement of the vehicles. It is very easy to become disoriented in the swirling, blinding snow.

Observation three: The brutal cold is not your friend. When you drive on long trips, wear your winter jacket. For that matter, don t forget the longjohns. If your vehicle rolls, within seconds youre frozen. If you get pinned and need help to be freed, you going to wait for at least 20-30 minutes. If you are not pinned, chances are that your coat will be under the vehicle and inaccessible.

Observation four: Be very thankful. Life is short. Hug the kids, pat the dog and kiss Momma.

Onto something a bit different. I have just completed the ?stats? for 2007 and there are some crime trends of which you need to be aware. Let me give you some numbers, well do the math, and see where were going.

Im going to give you a comparison, year-over-year, of some of the more note worthy categories.

Total calls for service: 2004 =1155 2005 = 1455 2006 = 1751, 2007 = 1782.

Assaults: 2004 = 18, 2005 = 18, 2006 = 40, 2007 = 52.

Property damage: 2004 = 101, 2005 = 76, 2006 = 77, 2007 = 121.

Break and Enters: 2005 = 15, 2006 = 13, 2007 = 17.

Drug Charges: 2005 =33, 2006 = 41, 2007 = 51.

Impaired Driving: 2005 = 15, 2006 = 22, 2007 = 42.

Traffic Tickets: 2004 = 121, 2005 = 233, 2006 = 600, 2007 = 698.

Motor Vehicle Accidents: 2004 = 42, 2005 = 69, 2006 = 157, 2007 = 159.

*One fatality in 2007. Highway 29, single vehicle rollover, driver fell asleep.

It has been a very busy 2007 for all Officers at Tumbler Ridge Detachment. With the planned production increase in 2008 at Western Canada Coal and Peace River Coal, this will add a significant demand for policing services. In addition, there is a strong contractor presence in town. The contractors are primarily concerned with oil and gas production, the eradication of the Pine Beetle, and with providing various services to the mines. In order for us to meet the ever increasing demands for policing, there will have to be a corresponding increase in detachment personnel and operating budget. This process has already begun.

The Detachment is fully staffed with one Corporal, four Constables, one full time Clerk, and one part time Victim Services worker. The detachment infrastructure is solid: business practices are efficient, the staff are well trained, the detachment has a newer fleet of vehicles, and there is sufficient equipment to meet the present policing needs. In addition, Tumbler Ridge Detachment has just implemented a new electronic records management system. This system, once fully employed, will increase the efficiency of each officer and detachment staff.

CRIME TRENDS: Tumbler Ridge has seen a significant increase in file load over the past three years. The files have become much more serious in nature. In consultation with the community and in conjunction with data gleaned from our records, drugs issues, violence against women and traffic concerns are the three top priorities for Tumbler Ridge Detachment for 2008. At present, I am working on a strategic plan to address these issues in 2008/2009. I will present the completed plan to you in March of 2008.

Well talk again next week the Good Lord willing. Keep it between the ditches.

Cpl. Kurt Peats