At a regular Kimberley City Council Meeting on Monday, Nov. 27 Detachment Commander for Kimberley RCMP, Sgt. Chris Newel presented the third quarter RCMP report.
In the report are details of several different focus areas for the RCMP including road safety, public relations and visibility, crime reduction, family violence, calls for service and resources.
The report from Newel says the three key objectives for their annual performance plan (2016/17) are domestic violence, road safety and crime reduction, as set by BC RCMP.
With regards to road safety, Newel says there were 168 traffic stops, which is considerably more than the previous quarters.
“13 impaired drivers were removed from the roadways which is more than the last quarter, but average [and] there was eight road checks,” said Newel.
According to the report, police visibility is a combination of traffic enforcement, foot patrols, school visits and bar checks.
“There were 33 bar checks and 68 foot patrols through various venues including hockey games, [the] ski hill and the Platzl,” Newel wrote.
There were 40 patrols made to the Wasa area and there was a significant increase in both checks and foot patrols, Newel says.
School visits are conducted regularly and since the beginning of this school year the RCMP have visited Kimberley schools 19 times.
Newel says that Kimberley is working on a crime reduction unit in the area, which helped lead to a substantial drug seizure in the Wasa area on November, 11.
“Although the Cranbrook/Kimberley Crime Reduction team is active, we have not contributed to the unit since June,” explained the report. “The member who was part of the team is off due to injury.”
RCMP have received information and noticed an increase in drug activity, Newel says, however they are not always in a position where they can act on it. Newel says they hope to provide a member to the team in the near future which will provide the Kimberley connection and therefore become more active in the area.
Family violence continues to be an issue, says Newel. Domestic violence calls for this quarter were consistent with the number of calls for the same quarter in 2016.
“These calls can be quite time consuming and unfortunately often repetitive,” wrote Newel. “But we continue to work with other agencies during all incidents to ensure the safety of those involved. In a lot of cases there are other factors including child access or custody, which often perpetuate these types of calls.”
With regards to calls for service, Kimberley RCMP have received more than they normally see but there is nothing in particular that is skewing the numbers, says Newel.
“The detachment was called to investigate/attend 626 calls for service in this quarter which is 50 (nine per cent) more calls than the previous quarter.. The calls for service were higher this year than most years, the average being 603. There were fluctuations throughout all areas, some a few more, some a few less. There was no specific area that saw a significant increase which would account for the increase,” said Newel.
Councillor Albert Hoglund says that abandoned 911 calls seem to be dropping considerably from the numbers in July.
Newel agreed explaining that there were 51 abandoned 911 calls in the last quarter, compared to 35 in this quarter.
“Perhaps people are becoming better educated,” said Newel. “It’s a huge time consumer. If people don’t answer [the call back] or the right questions aren’t asked, we tend to go. Whether that’s an education thing I don’t know.”
Councillor Bev Middlebrook asked if there was one area of Kimberley that is worse for break ins and thefts than others.
Newel responded by saying that there isn’t one area in particular that is worse, and that break ins and theft tend to occur in the area where the culprit lives or where it’s easy to access from somewhere else.
“Theft from vehicles is always a concern,” said Newel. “It might be a high number but we’ll get them all in one or two days. We won’t have any [car theft] for a month, or sometimes two, and then we’ll have ten in one morning. That’s a bit of a hit and miss.”
Councillor Sandra Roberts asked if car doors are typically found unlocked.
Newel says that cars are typically unlocked and that “very rarely” do they see forced entry to a vehicle whether it’s a broken window or forced lock.
“It’s pretty much always [an unlocked vehicle] because they [thieves] don’t want to raise a lot of attention,” said Newel.
Resources were also a large issue over the summer but since then end of August they have been able to bring resources to a level that Newel says is “tolerable”.
“Our staffing levels since late August have been 80 per cent. With transfers, leave and other forms of vacancies this is tolerable,” Newel said. “We continue to work with our resource officer to minimize long term vacancies, but when compared to other detachments around the province, and even nationally, we are in a pretty good position. One member is non-operational due to injuries sustained when he was rammed by a stolen vehicle in May. One member is on administrative leave and we’ve requested the position be filled as the process could take considerable time.”