Policing report shows more reported offences in Swift Current for February
There was an increase in the number of reported offences in Swift Current for February compared to the same month a year ago.
Staff Sgt. Gary Hodges spoke about the reasons for an increase in offences in certain categories during the presentation of the community policing report at a regular City of Swift Current council meeting, March 9. He provided information about offences reported and/or committed in the community during the month of February.
There was a total of 394 occurrences in February 2020 compared to 310 for the same month in 2019 and 289 in February 2018.
There was in increase in the number of assaults (excluding sexual assaults) from five occurrences a year ago to 29 in February 2020, but he emphasized that Swift Current is still a safe community. He took a careful look at the data and these assaults were mostly related to domestic violence.
“So I can say that it’s not like the streets of Swift Current aren’t safe, that you’re going to get beat up if you walk down the road,” he said.
“That’s not the case. These aren’t instances where people are having fights out on the street. They’re a result of domestic violence, which as we all know, can come from any number of different factors – social conditions, economics, the home environment.”
He added that the RCMP is working closely with staff from other organizations such as Social Services to address issues related to domestic violence and to reduce the number of such calls received by the police, but it still happens.
There was a significant increase in the total number of break and enter incidents in the community from only one at a residence in February 2019 to 17 occurrences in February 2020. There was one break and enter at a residence, four at businesses, and
12 at other locations. The majority of these incidents were break and enters into garages or sheds, and the Swift Current RCMP has arrested and charged six individuals.
“These six individuals were actually working in three different groups, all separate from each other,” he said. “One of the individuals was very cooperative once he was caught, but by his own admission he was under the influence of drugs at the time. So he wasn’t able to recall exactly where he was committing these crimes, only that he’d been committing them.”
The RCMP recovered a significant amount of stolen property as a result of these arrests, but their challenge now is to find the owners. Hodges noted that victims of a break and enter will often not make a report to the police and it is therefore more difficult for them to find the owners of stolen property. He therefore requested anyone who was a victim of a break and enter in February to contact the detachment.
“Give us a call and come on down to the detachment, and have a look at what we’ve got in our security there and see if they can identify any of that property that was seized from these individuals,” he said.
He felt confident that the arrest of these individuals will have a positive impact on the number of break and enter incidents in the city.
“Since these six individuals have been charged and brought before the court system, we’ve seen a complete decline in the reports of these break and enters,” he said. “So I would say the mass majority with fair confidence were the actions of those six individuals that were responsible for it.”
Swift Current RCMP officers have continued to focus on drug enforcement in the community. The drug enforcement offences increased from six in February 2019 to 10 in February 2020. Officers executed eight search warrants in the past three months, which resulted in the seizure of a variety of drugs, cash, drug paraphernalia and firearms.
The statistics for impaired driving offences doubled from seven a year ago to 14 in February 2020, which Hodges felt was an unfortunate situation.
“It’s obviously a discouraging comment to have to make, but it’s the reality of it,” he said.
“So we’ll continue to focus on that area as the members are out and about on their patrols, as well as encouraging citizens to call if they see anything.”
There was a significant increase in the number of provincial traffic offences from 26 in February 2019 to 181 in February 2020. Several factors played a role in the increased enforcement that resulted in the higher number of recorded offences.
Provincial Traffic Services carried out several operations in the community and warmer weather during this past February was more conducive to enforcement activities. The staff component at the Swift Current RCMP detachment is now also up to full strength and more police vehicles were out on the streets.
“We were running with two members on the street last year,” he said. “This year we’re running with at least three on a shift. So that’s one more member out there sharing calls for service load on a rotational basis, and just out there with another set of eyes.”
Hodges mentioned that many of the officers who joined the detachment recently have come from RCMP Depot Division after the completion of their training.
“Some of those members are new members from depot who are very keen to get out,” he said. “Not that the rest of the members aren’t, but some of them have more in-depth investigations. So they’re out there looking for those things and will have a bit more time to do some proactive work.”
Staff Sgt. Gary Hodges presents the community policing report during of Swift Current council meeting, March 9. a regular City