Numbers up for violent crimes in the province
Moose Jaw sees increase in assaults, break-ins in 2016
“But what we find is that we had travelling criminals coming through,” he said, citing one in particular who was involved in upwards of 60 incidents at campers in seasonal resorts, before recently being convicted in Yorkton. “When something like that happens, it definitely spikes our property crime numbers.”
Schwartz said that while crime rates are multi-determined, some of the most common factors are the economy and availability of jobs, as well as addictions issues. He said that people get desperate and crimes of opportunity — taking items from farmyards and vehicles parked in fields, for instance — rise along with that desperation.
The solution, he said, is all about the community.
“What we look at in trying to help combat that, is looking at our community partners — the regional municipalities and the village councils — to get information out to the ratepayers and the community at large on programs like rural crime watch,” he said. “Basically, we need everyone to help make our community safe. That doesn’t mean take over the role of the police officer, but being the eyes and ears for us.”
The detachment has seen some successes in this respect, with several cases leading to arrests and the return of the stolen property. He encouraged people to report crimes even when they don’t seem significant, as every piece of information can be useful when it comes to building a case.
Both RCMP and MJPS leaders emphasized the importance of crime prevention and working with the community to build relationships. Schwartz said that getting out into schools has made a difference in the rates of youth crime in the area, and Bourassa agreed that outreach is a key part of the job of his police force.
“We try to be as proactive as we can be, so we use our crime data to help us know where to focus,” Bourassa said. “We do know that so much of our work has to be in that community building and prevention side.”