Wright takes over at P.G. RCMP
City sees drop in national crime severity index for 2018
There is a new top cop in the city.
Insp. Shaun Wright was promoted to superintendent of the Prince George RCMP on Wednesday.
He has 23 years experience with the RCMP, and while the majority of it has been in the Lower Mainland, Wright has been the operations officer at the detachment since 2016.
He takes over from Supt. Warren Brown, who was transferred to the North District RCMP and is currently the Acting District Commander for Northern B.C.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity,” Wright said in a interview at his new office, one door down the hall from where he had been for the last two-and-a-half years.
In the time he and his wife have been here, “we’ve really taken to the community,” he said.
Wright described his job as “steering the ship, ensuring the broad strategies are put into practice by the frontline members on the road.”
For the time being at least, he said that means continuing on the course the detachment has been taking, which includes finding ways to work with the city’s community agencies on tackling issues related to the downtown core like mental illness and addictions.
“Those are issues that obviously affect the city and the livability of the area and they’re not going to be solved through enforcement but we need to be part of that conversation and solution,” Wright said.
That his old boss is now down the road at North District RCMP is a “significant benefit.”
“Both of us are really hitting the ground running because we’re both familiar with the situation already,” Wright said.
His promotion comes the same week that Statistics Canada released its crime severity index numbers for 2018.
Prince George scored 164.48 on the index, down from 174.68 in 2017, leading to a concurrent drop in the rankings to 17th from 11th highest among communities with over 10,000 people.
Warren Silver, an analyst at the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, attributed the decline to two fewer homicides in 2018 and a significant drop in number of reported break and enters, to 623 from 679.
Conversely, he noted incidents of trafficking in cocaine rose to 63 from 25.
Wright said the detachment is going to continue to focus on the prolific offenders responsible for many of the break and enters and made note of the arrest of Jamie Hammerstrom last week.
He also acknowledged city council’s decision to add extra officers to the detachment to form a downtown safety unit made up of one corporal and five constables while easing the load on the general duty watches.
On the rise in trafficking in cocaine, Wright said it reflects targeted enforcement, particularly in the downtown.
To calculate the index, Statistics Canada takes the number of police-reported incidents for each offence and factors in the weight for that offence, based on the sentence typically handed out.
For example, the weighting for murder was about 1,000 times greater than for marijuana possession in 2018.
All weighted offences are then added together and divided by the corresponding population total. Finally, the index is standardized to 100 using 2006 as a base year, to make interpretation easier.
Wright’s first post with the RCMP was to the City of Surrey, where he gained experience in various units within the detachment, including frontline policing, the gang enforcement team and the general investigations section.
He was then posted to Mission as the Operations Support NCO and then to the professional responsibility unit at B.C. RCMP headquarters before his transfer to Prince George.
Supt. Shaun Wright is the new officer in charge at the Prince George RCMP detachment.