Wright takes over at P.G. RCMP

City sees drop in na­tional crime sever­ity in­dex for 2018

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Mark NIELSEN Cit­i­zen staff

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.

CIT­I­ZEN PHOTO BY BRENT BRAATEN

Supt. Shaun Wright is the new of­fi­cer in charge at the Prince Ge­orge RCMP de­tach­ment.

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