Salmon Arm RCMP continue to see a rise in violent crime, though most of it is happening behind closed doors.
This trend, reported by Staff. Sgt. Kevin Keane in past quarterly reports to city council, was once again repeated by Keane at council’s Nov. 13 meeting.
Statistics Keane provided to council show that as of this quarter, police have dealt with 93 incidents of violent crime (up 41 per cent from the third quarter in 2011) within the city, and 22 in surrounding rural areas (up 100 per cent).
Police dealt with eight incidents of assault with a weapon in the city, putting the total for the year to date at 18 – up 80 per cent.
The figures fall under the category of “person crime,” which can range from assault to intimidation.
“The vast majority of these incidents are happening behind closed doors,” said Keane. “So what we’re doing is Sgt. (Carlos) Tettolowski, the Safe Society and other partner agencies, they’ve developed a program just to deal with the high-risk domestic violence issues, and they’re trying to pool resources and share information just so we can stem off the ones that are really on our radar, that we are concerned about.”
To date, police have dealt with 345 incidents of property crime in Salmon Arm. This amounts to an 18 per cent increase over last year.
Keane says the trend for property crime has gone up and down over the year (compared to last). He added there were three “prolific offenders” put in jail last month, and he expected property crime to even out over the next quarter – until January, “when they’re out of jail again.”
After a summer of staff shortages – amounting to a 42 per cent vacancy rate – Keane was pleased to state the detachment’s 19 municipal positions are staffed. Keane also noted the municipal traffic position, which has been vacant “pretty much the whole time” he’s been with the detachment, is also staffed. But, he added, the position has been “rebranded,” in that the traffic officer is also responsible for promoting crime prevention in the community.
“And what this does, it fills the gap of community expectations for proactive engagement of community groups, the schools, co-ordination of volunteers,” said Keane, adding every uniformed member is assigned to a school and acts on requests of those schools.
Summing up the quarter, Keane said the “detachment completed 2,981 calls for service last quarter, 581 traffic stops, arrested 163 people and held them in cells, and as of mid-November there were 196 ongoing investigations in the queue.”
Regarding the detachment’s priorities, as set by council and the community (drugs, traffic and youth), Coun. Chad Eliason asked if more effort could be placed on enforcement in town along the Trans-Canada Highway near the Shuswap intersection, and on semis running red lights.
Coun. Alan Harrison took advantage of Keane’s visit to thank him, and Salmon Arm and Kelowna RCMP, for their recent arrests relating to the 2008 murder of Tyler Myers.
“It was of some relief to the Bastion community, the announcement of the arrests and charges recently in the murder that happened on our school grounds four years ago,” said Harrison. “And although it seems a long time ago, it was, in talking with the community and the staff, it was a real sense of relief. So I appreciated the professionalism that I’ve been offered as principal of that school, and also the communication that has happened over that four years.”