Break-ins on the rise in Stratford
Break-and-enters are on the rise in Stratford.
A total of 32 were recorded across the city in August compared to just eight during the same month in 2016. Eighteen occurred in July, and while that was nearly half the amount compared to August, it was still 10 more than July of the previous year.
Stratford police Insp. Steve Shaw pointed out the summertime spike is mostly shed related.
“Break-and-enters generally are up from this time last year,” he said during this week’s police services board meeting. “When you review the stats, a lot of those are associated to sheds being entered, and unfortunately they do fall in the category of breakand-enter stats.”
Thefts under $5,000 also increased dramatically this summer as police continued to deal with a rash of items being stolen from unlocked vehicles. There were 72 thefts below the $5,000 threshold reported in August and 80 in July; last year’s numbers came in at 56 and 33, respectively.
Most of the cases involving unlocked cars occurred while they were parked in residential driveways. It’s a frustrating battle for police, as the main cause is owners simply not locking their doors.
“If they did, that’d be great. It would save us a lot of work,” Shaw said.
Mike Bellai, Stratford’s police chief, pointed out there’s no specific area where these robberies are happening.
“It’s just kind of random,” he said. “… They’ll just go around and pull the handles. If it’s locked, they just move on to the next one.”
Coun. Graham Bunting said the issue has been ongoing in the city for decades. Bellai said they’ve encouraged residents to lock their vehicles through the newspaper and social media.
As for sexual offences, one was reported in August. None were called in during July. There were eight over those months in 2016.
Domestic violence calls in August rose from 35 to 45 on a year-over-year basis. They dropped from 51 to 42 in July. Investigations into this year’s complaints resulted in 59 total charges being laid.
Last week, Stratford police and Optimism Place Women’s Shelter and Support Services announced the Philadelphia Model, a format for responding to sexual and domestic assault complains, will be implemented in the city. Stratford was chosen as one of four pilot project sites in Ontario for the model, co-ordinated through the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women and the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre.
The Philadelphia Model supplements police investigations into sexual and domestic assault complaints by using advocate reviewers. These reviewers, professionals from the community with expertise in the field, operate at arms length from police and the organizations they work for.
Meanwhile, mischief calls rose 34 per cent this past July compared to 2016. Shaw noted there was a series of incidents where car windows were being smashed in the city’s south end.
“A lot of those (mischief ) calls are associated to that,” he said.
Overall calls for service in July and August came in at just over 2,000 each. Those numbers were higher than June (1,809), but around the same mark as last year. firstname.lastname@example.org