Crime will always hang around a community. That fact hasn't changed since the last community policing report.
The latest community policing report made to Swift Current city council shared mostly similar stats, of which there was an increase in incidents regarding specific repeat offenders.
Presenting the matter to city council was City RCMP Staff Sergeant Evan Gordon.
"The recorded [information] on the policing report that I'll be presenting today is for the months of January to March of 2023," confirmed Gordon. "This is kind of our wrap-up quarter as far as our fiscal year."
The bulk of the report was contained in the 349 provincial traffic offences that occurred from January to March 2023. Compared to last year, which saw 623 offences over the same period, it's quite an improvement.
One area that was up was theft under $5,000, which now sits at 65 incidents versus 43 from last year.
"Theft over is kind of a catch-all that includes theft of motor vehicles, and again, that's an area that we continue to see a lot of crime happening in," said Gordon. "The theft of motor vehicle accounts for about 66% of that."
The biggest increase from this time last year was Mischief charges, which jumped from 48 to 100. Along with those, break and entering for residences was up from 5 to 15 this year.
"I just feel it's important to put some context behind those numbers," said Gordon. "About a quarter of those residential breaks and enterings were unfounded, and we see this with a lot of our statistical areas where even though it gets reported as a certain type of crime, after investigation, it's found that the crime type didn't happen or it doesn't fit. That doesn't get immediately changed, so it will show up in the short-term reports and quite often in the long-term reports as well."
One thing that was of note was missing persons cases. They jumped up from four cases last year to eight this year. While these cases are taken seriously in every incident, many of them end up being less troubling as some folks are just looking to not be found by certain individuals or are just at a friend's place or elsewhere.
"I would say that 99 per cent of those people were found within the first six hours after that call," said Gordon. "The majority of the missing persons cases that we deal with here in Swift Current are quite often people making that phone call to us very quickly after not being able to find someone or after a loved one leaves a house in a little bit of an emotional state, and that's fine. We definitely want to be ahead of the game when it comes to missing persons investigations."
Gordon made it clear that the myth of having to wait a specific amount of time before calling in a missing persons case was indeed just a myth. If anyone has concerns, they should never hesitate to call.
In total, the numbers are up for the quarter. January to March of 2023 racked up a total of 1,190 total occurrences, whereas in 2022, that number was 1,048. While this increase is notable, Gordon wasn't too worried, as a lot of it can be attributed to some repeat offenders.
"Sometimes we're dealing with repeat offenders fairly shortly after [incidents], and in some cases, there are multiple search warrants executed in one investigation."
One of the highlights during this period was the take down of a gift card scam ring that was opperating in Swift Current. Gordon detailed to city council how the operation was made up of individuals not from Swift Current.
"During this period, we did put a fairly large dent in local drug supply," said Gordon. "I spoke last on January 9 and at that time, I threw in a little bit of information about a file where the drug traffickers were located entering the City of Swift Current, and a large quantity of cocaine was taken off the streets before it managed to enter the flow of the trafficking within the city. In addition to that, our local GIS unit executed eight search warrants in town. One of those was in tandem with the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response team. Of those eight search warrants, five resulted in different people being charged."
Folks in Swift Current are reminded that the best way to prevent crime is to lock their doors, both at home and on vehicles, and to avoid suspicious individuals. Reporting suspicious behaviour is also key, with the RCMP line being open to calls from the public at 306-778-4870.