Salmon Arm RCMP saw a decline in criminal activity and an increase in motor-vehicle collisions in the final three months of 2022.
At the Jan. 23 city council meeting, Staff Sgt. Scott West shared his last quarter report for 2022, comparing what happened in the months of October, November and December of that year to the same months in 2021. By and large, numbers were down from 2021, including files relating to property crime (183, down from 198), sexual offences (four, down from 13) and break and enters (19, down from 23). West noted, however, that motor vehicle collisions were up from 34 in 2021 to 40 in 2022. He remarked there has been an upward trend in collisions throughout the RCMP’s Southeast District.
“That is a phenomenon that I’ve been told we’ve seen across the Southeast District and nobody has been quite able to put their finger on the reason why,” said West.
In the last quarter of 2022, officers conducted more than 135 traffic stops (there may have been more involving BC Highway Patrol officers), and removed more than 19 impaired and prohibited drivers from the road. Ten of the collisions were reported in Salmon Arm and involved injuries and/or damage over $10,000. Over the last quarter, there were no motor-vehicle incidents involving fatalities in Salmon Arm, but police responded to two in rural areas.
In the last quarter, Salmon Arm RCMP responded to more than 1,700 calls for service, 1,215 of them within the city’s boundaries.
Regarding traffic, West said officers have been targeting drivers running red lights, and have continued to support School District 83 in efforts to remind drivers it is illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped and its red lights are flashing.
“If you see red lights flashing on a school bus, stop,” said West. “They’re the same as a traffic light.”
Regarding staffing, West said Salmon Arm continues to be a sought after location for officers and the detachment has one vacancy to fill.
Speaking to general investigations, West said the detachment’s General Investigation Section staff have been supporting general duty calls for service. It’s members are also working on property crime investigations, as well as child pornography files – something West called a “disturbing trend in our workload.”
Looking ahead, West said the Salmon Arm detachment is ready to celebrate the RCMP’s 150th anniversary and support local events. It is also preparing for the decriminalization of small amounts of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and MDMA.
“It’s not going to be any extra cost to policing, it’s just going to be a different way to do it…,” said West. “And I’m happy to say we’ve got some policies and procedures in place at this time to facilitate that, which we knew was going to be up and coming.
“And Interior Health has sent us some cards with respect to where these particular individuals may be able to get help for their specific addictions, treatment options and in-general supports. I think that’s a right direction because if you do one thing, you have to provide the supports to do that.”
West said he is hopeful people in 2023 are kinder and more patient with one another, and that he’s glad some of the issues of 2022 are “largely in our rear-view mirror.”
Speaking to policing demands just outside the city’s borders, Mayor Alan Harrison noted for the past 20 years the city has had five provincially funded officers for this service.
“I know there’s lots of other needs, but I did tell the solicitor general that I didn’t buy that we didn’t have one more of those provincial officers, so he knows how I feel about it,” said Harrison.
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