Crime numbers in Prince George on the decrease in 2011
Not only, with no murders in 2011, will Prince George likely lose the dubious distinction of being listed as Canada’s most violent city in Macleans next fall, but the majority of the rest of the crime statistics have also decreased over the last calendar year.
Supt. Eric Stubbs presented the stats and the current strategic plan for the city, and asked for input for the upcoming plan at a committee as a whole meeting Wednesday night.
Stubbs said the RCMP’s fiscal year runs from April to April, so this is when they plan what priorities and goals will be set for the upcoming year.
Statistically, based on the previous calendar year, it’s been a good year for the city when it comes to fighting crime. General calls for service dropped by 1,000 calls, public intoxication dropped 6.5 per cent, and the majority of persons offences also dropped.
A substantial increase in the number of people caught consuming liquor in a public place, a 43.2 per cent rise, can be explained, Stubbs said, by understanding this is a proactive charge.
However, the rise in false alarms, at 28 per cent, with a 61.5 per cent rise in false or abandoned 911 calls, concerns him because of the waste of officer’s time those numbers represent.
“Those are a waste of our time. When you add up those numbers, that is 3,200 calls we didn’t need to go to,” he said.
He added he hopes a recently passed city bylaw, levying a fine on homes and businesses that experience a false alarm, will help decrease those numbers.
Murder, assault with a weapon, assault or trespass, robbery and criminal harassment are all down, however there was a rise of 3.2 per cent in sex assaults.
Every category under property offences dropped.
“I’m happy to see break and enters in businesses and residences creep down,” Stubbs said.
Stubbs pointed out there are a lot of break and enters in the city and he’d like to further decrease the numbers.
Indecent acts, a crime Stubbs said has been reported a lot in the media in the last months, rose by 119 per cent. He said he expects there will be a drop in incidents since a couple of the suspects have been identified and confronted.
Breach of probation, which is also dealt with proactively according to Stubbs, rose 31.1 per cent.
Targeting upper-level dealers caused a rise in the number of arrests for trafficking cannabis. Possession of the substance arrests also rose.
There was also a significant rise in certain traffic violations.
“The impaired driving numbers are way up,” he said, adding that crime is something they focus on as a province.
Recent changes in regulations have made it quicker for police to go after more violators.
Domestic violence, including assault, rose 3.4 per cent.
“This is something people in the community don’t see,” he said, adding there were 900 domestic violence calls in total last year, breaking down to two to three per day.
Stubbs pointed out there is a need for a family violence unit in the city, and that is a resource usually available in a municipality the size of Prince George.
“We need to spend more time to support the victim but we don’t have the resources. It’s obvious we want to help and lower those calls,” he said.
The four priorities set for 2011 included the Downtown Enforcement Unit, organized crime, the crime reduction unit and youth at risk.
Mayor Shari Green said those goals align well with what is important to her and the community and asked how domestic violence calls are currently handled.
Victims Services, Stubbs said, currently play an important role in the support required, however because they are not police officers, they are limitted in what they can do in certain instances.
Coun. Lyn Hall added he would be very supportive of a domestic violence unit in the city.