With 2020 nearly over, the Officer in Charge of Lloydminster RCMP provided a look back on the crime trends in the city over the past year.
Inspector Lee Brachmann was invited to provide a year end update at this week’s Rotary Club meeting.
Brachmann says they are seeing success with their new strategy which focuses on reducing property crimes in the city. The crime reduction strategy focused on reducing property crime and drug and gang related offences with part of it involving taking a proactive approach to identify prolific offenders. He says property crime numbers are down 8 per cent overall year-to-date compared to 2019 and there has been an over 20 per cent reduction in vehicle theft.
One of the objectives for the detachment for the year was to put a focus on traffic. As of October, Lloydminster RCMP has issued 118 tickets for distracted driving. Brachmann says there is a relationship between traffic enforcement and vehicle collisions.
“We’ve seen in months where we’ve done more enforcements there have been fewer collisions for example. Now that we’re into the winter weather and winter road conditions people are paying more attention to the roads so not all the reductions in collision can be attributed solely to enforcement.”
He adds the reduction in vehicle collisions were also affected by less people driving earlier in the pandemic.
On the other end, vandalism, mischief and person crimes have increased and mental health calls have gone up by 30 per cent. He clarifies some conditions need to be met before they can engage with the Alberta Mental Health Act or the Saskatchewan Mental Health Services Act.
“The conditions that have to be met before we can make an apprehension is somebody must be suffering from a mental disorder and posing an imminent threat to themselves or somebody else. There are times where we get called out and folks don’t meet the criteria and that’s when we can engage is some de-escalation or suggesting they might be best served by following up with mental health or going to the hospital for an assessment.”
He adds the detachment is looking into collaborating with mental health services to further address these instances and underlying issues.
When asked about enforcement for those not following public health guidelines on gatherings, Brachmann says they are taking an educational approach before enforcing any penalties.
“If it’s clear that individuals or organizers are really disobeying [or] disregarding the public health measures, that’s where we engage in conversation with them. Take an education standpoint first and then follow up with enforcement if needed.”
One aspect the detachment wanted to focus on was enhanced community engagement as it was one of the biggest responses heard during their town halls. Brachmann says they’ve seen some success and will continue to hold more town halls and increase communication with the public in 2021.
Brachmann mentions they are also in the process of creating a new diversity and inclusion advisory committee which he says will develop relationships between police and various communities who may not be comfortable with the police in the past.