Smithers sees drop in violent crimes

The Smithers RCMP is lauding the success of a couple of their initiatives for decreases in both violent and property crimes.

  • Jan. 25, 2013 4:00 p.m.

The Smithers RCMP is lauding the success of a couple of their initiatives for decreases in both violent and property crimes.

The end of the third quarter in 2011 showed 239 violent crime incidents and 511 property crimes in Smithers.

During the same period in 2012, those numbers dropped to 232 and 427 incidents, decreases of three and 16 per  cent, respectively.

“I believe our prolific offender program has played a substantial role in the decrease in property crime as many of our well-known offenders are not in the community at this time,” detachment commander Staff Sgt. Kirsten Marshall said.

Staff Sgt. Marshall shared these numbers with councillors during the Council of the Whole meeting on Jan. 15.

Marshall also said the CrimeStoppers program is highly successful.

Eighty per cent of the Most Wanted featured in The Interior News weekly advertisements are apprehended, she said.

Smithers RCMP initiated the Prolific Offender program in April 2011.

The strategy behind the program has the police focusing on offenders in the community who are known to be criminally active and assessed as a high risk to re-offend.

“We work closely with Corrections Canada on this program and focus on persons who are on court-imposed conditions that can be monitored,” Staff Sgt. Marshall said.

By contrast, Marshall reported mischief complaints increased over the last year.

Because the range of crimes that can be called mischief is wide, Staff Sgt. Marshall said her officers will be spending time pinpointing exactly what types of incidents are increasing and come up with a strategy to deal with them.

Marshall also briefly spoke about the detachment’s Safer Homes, Safer Communities initiative which focuses on substance abuse, the street-level drug trade, education, restorative justice and hitchhiking/safety.

The last point, hitchhiking, is also a priority for the Town of Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said.

“As for the hitchhiking issue, I think everyone is concerned about the safety of young women travelling between communities in our region,” Bachrach said.

“We also look forward to a day when there isn’t a need for the warning billboards along Highway 16.”

Council put forward a resolution to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities in September regarding the need for improved transportation, and since then the initiative has received a lot of attention and support, Bachrach said.

“The RCMP investigators I’ve spoken with recognize that better access to affordable transportation is part of the solution when it comes to making our highway safer,” he said.