Staff Sgt. Scott West of Salmon Arm RCMP addresses city council. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Carfentanil, bomb threat, child pornography cases part of Salmon Arm RCMP workload

2019 keeps police busy with major crimes and many traffic stops

A possible home invasion, a loaded shotgun and deadly opiates were all part of the Salmon Arm RCMP detachment’s reality in 2019.

Staff Sgt. Scott West informed Salmon Arm council on Jan. 27 about crime in the past three months as well as during the year that was.

During the last quarter of 2019, the police workload included culmination of an investigation which led to the arrest of suspects who police think were collecting drug debts, West said during his report.

There was an unrelated arrest was of a man with a loaded shotgun in his car. His intentions were unknown.

West said federal drug trafficking charges are being pursued against one drug dealer known to police whose products were tested by Health Canada and confirmed to contain carfentanil.

“We have opiates, we have fentanyl and we have carfentanil,” said West, pointing out that carfentanil is much more potent than fentanyl.

“In fact I’m told by my members who are on the street that there are people actually seeking fentanyl and carfentanil because of the effects, and how much magnified those are. The danger in that of course is that we see the heavier addictions, the crime that goes on to pay for those addictions and we also see overdoses.”

Read more: Property crime in Shuswap jumps in last quarter of 2018

Read more: Safety concerns in South Shuswap prompt reformation of Blind Bay Crime Watch

He said officers also continue to investigate a hoax where a package made to look like a bomb was left at a local business. Along with the inconvenience of evacuating the building, a bomb squad from Vancouver had to fly in to the Salmon Arm airport with a lot of equipment to deal with the potential threat.

There were major crimes investigated throughout the year which included the homicide in April at a local church, as well as two child pornography cases. West said another two child pornography investigations are ongoing.

On the traffic beat, more than 1,400 traffic stops, prosecutions or warnings were part of 2019.

Officers also did curfew checks on more than 50 “priority offenders,” checks which West said are successful in preventing the commission of more crimes.

Read more: Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Read more: As crime rates in Canada increase, confidence in policing drops: poll

West also drew attention to the work of Police-Based Victim Services (PBVS), which consists of one person at this time, Shirley Deglan.

“One of our unsung heroes behind the scenes,” he said, noting that PBVS provided support to move than 400 clients last year, 232 of whom were in Salmon Arm, the rest in Sicamous and the rural areas.

That’s an increase of 88 per cent from 2016 numbers.

He said Police Based Victim Services and Community Based Victim Services with the SAFE Society complement each other’s work when appropriate. West wasn’t certain of the funding formula for PBVS and who pays what, but asked council to consider that one person has been providing support to victims and accompanying them through the court process.

West provided graphs showing that both property crimes and “persons crimes,” such as assaults, robberies and sex offences, have shown a general increase from 2017 through 2019.

In persons crimes, robberies were the lowest category, with sex offences next. Assault stats were up and down, which West said coincides with who happened to be in town.

As for property crime, residential break-ins hovered along the base line of zero, while next were thefts from vehicles and mischief to property. Property crime numbers spiked in September, which West said was due in part to more frauds in the community.

Overall, Salmon Arm’s crime rate is relatively low, he said, at five Criminal Code cases per 1,000 people.

He attributes it, in part, to pro-active efforts such as the talks given to seniors recently about how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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