Swift Current RCMP reports more calls for service
The RCMP detachment in Swift Current experienced more calls for service in October 2018 compared to the same month in the previous two years. Staff Sgt. Gary Hodges presented the community policing report at a regular City of Swift Current council meeting, Dec. 3.
He provided information about offences reported and/or committed in the community during the month of October. There was a total of 451 calls for service in October 2018 compared to 399 for the same month in 2017 and 439 in October 2016.
“They present as the highest in three years for number of calls for service,” he told the meeting. “In particular, you'll note there's an increase in theft under $5,000 calls, which is due in part to a number of car shopping complaints.”
There were 30 incidents of theft under $5,000 in October 2018. There were 22 such incidents in October 2017 and 24 in October 2016. Hodges has frequently spoken during previous presentations to council about the need for residents to lock their vehicles and to keep valuable items out of sight as a way to prevent opportunistic individuals from committing a crime.
“We encourage people again this time of year to please lock your car,” he said. “Don't leave your keys in it, because while you're out shopping there are others who maybe is shopping compliments of you and your vehicle. Please secure your vehicles to help prevent that crime.”
There were nine calls in October in relation to impaired driving and charges were laid in one case. Six of these calls were unfounded and police determined the driving was not due to impairment, but some other issue.
While the total calls for service increased compared to the previous two years in October, the statistics indicate no significant increase in offences reported and/or committed in the community and for some categories the number of incidents were less or similar to the previous two years.
In addition to the increase in the category for theft under $5,000 there were increases in a number of other categories for the month of October. Reportable vehicle accidents increased from eight last year to 12 in October 2018. Incidents under the Mental Health Act increased from 22 last year to 33 in October 2018. Drug enforcement incidents increased from 11 last year to 12 this year.
Incidents of possession of stolen property changed from two last year to six in October 2018. Criminal record checks increased from 147 in October 2017 to 188 in October 2018.
Staff Sgt. Hodges referred in his presentation to the calls for service for the year to date, which is also the highest in three years. The year to date calls for service in 2018 is 4,178 compared to 4,160 in 2017 and 3,840 in 2016.
“So we continue to work away at those calls and make the community a safer place,” he said.
The statistics presented at the meeting indicate that incidents in most categories for year to date were similar or even less than in the previous two years. The category with the most significant increase for the year to date is for provincial traffic offences, which increased from 1,194 in 2017 to 1,347 in 2018. Other categories with increases for the year to date are impaired driving offences (84 in 2018 compared to 80 in 2017), incidents under the Mental Health Act (196 for 2018 compared to 169 in 2017), drug enforcement (118 in 2018 against 94 in 2017), and possession of stolen property (36 in 2018 compared to 32 in 2017).
Staff Sgt. Hodges highlighted two recent incidents in the community during his presentation. A very substantial investigation concluded successfully when a search warrant was executed on Nov. 15 at a residence on the 1500 block of Winnie Street East. A large amount of drugs, weapons and cash were seized. The total street value of the methamphetamine, cocaine and amphetamines is $66,000.
He also provided an update on the RCMP's ongoing investigation to locate the driver of the truck that crashed into the Swift Current Creek on Nov. 16.
“We're still attempting to locate who we believe to be the driver of the vehicle, a fellow by the name of Colton Koop,” Staff Sgt. Hodges said. “Our members are actively pursuing that still and we will until such time as we can see him in front of us. So if anybody does know of anywhere that he may be, we aren't looking to arrest him. All we want to do is make sure he is safe for his family's sake. So that's a focus that we continue daily to work on.”
Council previously requested that the school liaison officer should attend a council meeting to talk about his activities. Const. Tony Curti was present at the meeting to give an overview of his activities since he took over the duties of school liaison officer at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School on Sept. 1.
“I had a lot of opportunities to do some random talks to classes,” he said. “So I pop in every time I see classrooms are open ... and try to include myself in any way I can just to show visibility. That's very important to me, just to be visible.”
He has been involved in three violent threat risk assessments, which are done by the RCMP and other agencies to keep students and staff safe. It resulted in three Criminal Code charges, and he has charged one person under the new Cannabis Act. He has dealt with traffic related issues and issued a ticket for stunt driving.
He prefers not to park in the dedicated parking spot for the police vehicle, but to park in the student parking area.
“I want to be included into where the kids are usually parking, where the problems are,” he said. “The problems are usually centred around a certain area.”
He made it known that he will park there, and he felt it has changed the dynamic of the parking lot situation.
Const. Curti has received some requests to talk to students about drugs. He decided not to bore students with statistics, but to bring in a speaker who can talk about her own experiences. She is a recovering meth addict and drug dealer who spent time in prison.
“The best person to speak about what drugs do to you, is that person,” he said. “She is hard hitting, her story is riveting, it's shocking, and it's all based from her time at Swift Current Comp and how it elevated from marijuana use to meth use to selling and eventually going to jail for it.”
She has talked to four classes so far, including a combined group of Grade 9-12 students. He plans to continue to use her as a speaker.
“I think every kid in that school should hear what she has to say, because it's hard hitting,” he noted.
His goal is to participate in a variety of school activities to increase his visibility and to ensure that he is approachable to students who want to talk to him. His involvement has included Remembrance Day, SADD meetings, a mocktail competition, judging at a debate competition and even joining the school's wrestling team.
Mayor Denis Perrault noted that this school liaison position is funded by the City, the only one in the province fully funded by a local authority.
“We still feel we're getting very good value for the money we're spending,” he said.