RCMP fight war on drugs

Task force in Cranbrook and Kimberley has laid 66 charges for possession and trafficking of illicit drugs.

A special drug task force in Kimberley and Cranbrook has brought a 23 per cent increase in drug charges.

Cranbrook RCMP Cpl. Pat Prefontaine and acting officer in charge Staff Sergeant Lorne Craig presented 2012’s crime statistics to city council on Monday, Feb. 18.

In 2012, the Cranbrook detachment laid 48 charges for trafficking and possession of cocaine, marijuana and other controlled drugs. In 2011, it laid 39, meaning a 23 per cent increase in charges.

“That’s largely to do with our drug task force. For the year, the drug task force made 66 charges between Cranbrook and Kimberley,” said Cpl. Prefontaine.

The task force’s goal is to identify, charge and convict people who trafficked in illicit drugs.

On the other hand, the detachment has issued fewer traffic tickets and written warnings in the past year.

In 2012, it gave out 535 tickets and 767 notices and orders. That’s down from 602 tickets and 1,800 notices and orders in 2011. This translates to an 11 per cent decrease in traffic tickets, and a 57 per cent decrease in notices and orders.

“That’s largely to do with our staffing. Traffic work is a lot of self generated stuff and if you’re running short you don’t have time to do this sort of self-generated stuff,” said Cpl. Prefontaine.

There was an 11 per cent increase in person offences such as assaults, sexual assaults, assault with a weapon, robbery, threats and criminal harassment, from 507 in 2011 to 563 in 2012.

Property related offences such as break and enter, mischief to property, and thefts were 1,089 in 2012, up from 1,052 in 2011, a three per cent increase.

There were 57 motor vehicle accidents with injuries in 2012, while there were 42 in 2011. That’s a 36 per cent increase. There were 61 impaired driving offences in 2012, as opposed to 88 in 2011, a 31 per cent decrease.

In all, the Cranbrook RCMP received 7,439 calls for service in 2012, little change from its 7,602 calls in 2011.

“That doesn’t include calls we consider concluded in the cab – we go to a suspicious occurrence, we don’t find anybody, we can write it off in the cab, it doesn’t generate a file but it does generate an occurrence. There is quite a number of those,” said Cpl. Prefontaine.