POLICE BEAT: Boundary sees 27.8 per cent reduction in crime since 2010
A dedicated Crime Reduction Strategy has paid off for Grand Forks RCMP.
Over the last two years the department has reduced the occurrence of crime throughout the Boundary area by 27.8 per cent.
Over the past month Grand Forks RCMP staff sergeant Jim Harrison has been making his annual policing report to city councils and various other community groups. Despite a challenging year in 2012 – the Grand Forks and Winnipeg Hotel fires, the Pine Bible Camp tragedy, the multiple drowning deaths at Cascade Falls and the rash of vehicle break-ins in Grand Forks – Grand Forks RCMP have much to be proud of and thankful for.
Working at full staffing capacity, the Grand Forks detachment managed to bring the crime rate down 11 per cent from the 2011 totals. Violent crimes were down 37 per cent.
Grand Forks RCMP were so successful at implementing the Crime Reduction Strategy that Harrison has been invited to train other detachments in the South East district to do the same over the next year.
In Grand Forks, Harrison found that before 2010 about 80 per cent of the crimes were committed by the 20 per cent of our criminals. So the tailor-made strategy for our region was to target the known prolific offenders to reduce the overall crime rate.
“If you put the prolific offenders out of action, there you make a reduction in crime,” said Harrison.
He and his officers paired that with community engagement, support for the local Citizens On Patrol COPs) groups, support for the restorative justice program and coordinated efforts with organizations like the Boundary Emergency and Transition Housing Society (BETHS) and the CUPE City Watch Program and you get a winning combination.
Once you have community engagement, it inspires our officers to dig deeper and try harder because they know the community supports them. All these pieces fit together to make up our Crime Reduction Strategy.
Officers also adopted Intelligence led policing methods, which “has allowed us to concentrate our resources on Crime reduction to a level previously unattainable. We are becoming more analysis driven and proactive rather than simply reactive”, said Harrison in his report.
RCMP also focused on the enforcement of bail, probation and conditional sentence order to apprehend and incarcerate prolific offenders.
Proactive prevention to start in 2013
Now the Grand Forks RCMP has a handle on the crime rates in our region, they will spend 2013 focusing on supporting and creating more preventative programs and strategies.
Harrison said to expect to see officers working more often in local schools, providing traffic safety education for bicycles, working with the cities of Greenwood and Grand Forks to help with bylaw enforcement and participating in community emergency planning.
While youth crime is not an issue in our communities, Grand Forks RCMP will be providing the Drug Abuse Resistance Program (DARE) to all Grade 5 students in the Grand Forks elementary schools this year, with a hope to extend the program to all the Grade 5 students in the Boundary region.
“It’s a good idea to have a positive relationship with the youth in our community,” said Harrison.
Homeless people will also be a focus for the detachment. In his report Harrison said the RCMP will continue to work with and support community agencies like BETHS to assist the “disenfranchised segment of our society”.
Educating the community about bicycle safety is also on the wish list for 2013.
“We’re considering ideas to work with service clubs to assist with providing bicycle helmets to those who can’t afford them,” said Harrison.
RCMP becoming apart of municipal bylaw enforcement
While not usual, Grand Forks RCMP will be working alongside the cities of Greenwood and Grand Forks and the Regional District Kootenay Boundary to help enforce bylaws that help keep the peace in our region.
Harrison is pleased to see that local governments are finally updating local bylaws and creating ticketing and enforcement rules around those bylaws. Although not mandated to uphold municipal bylaws, some of the bylaws help police keep the peace, said Harrison.
“It’s not a usual scenario but it is done in Sicamous,” said Harrison.
It’s just another tool on (officer’s) belts to deal with a situation and keep the peace in town.
Bylaws about noise and what can be done in local parks will allow the RCMP to give out municipal tickets and stop the activity from happening. Right now most people would call the police anyway if they had noisy neighbor. The only thing police can do under the current rules is ask the offender to stop what they’re doing. Once the new bylaws are in place, police will now be able to follow the local ticketing system and ticket the offender.