The policing statistics for the halfway point of 2012 were presented to city council on Sept. 4, and Insp. John Duff, officer-in-charge of the Thompson RCMP detachment, says he was pleased with the numbers, for now.
Duff’s numbers were a comprehensive look at the number of crimes reported from the period of Jan. 1 to June 30. The two-page sheet of statistics Duff provided was a small sampling of all the statistics, and looked at some of the more worrisome numbers and crimes.
“What I do is try to take the ones (crimes) that are the most topical ones and that have the most interest to the public,” said Duff, “I try to keep it to one sheet because nobody wants 30 pages of all these innocuous numbers.”
Thompson was once again found statistically to have the highest violent crime numbers per capita, according to the annual Juristat Crime Severity Index values for 239 police services policing communities over 10,000 population for 2011, released July 24 by Statistics Canada. Duff says he would like to see these numbers lowered, despite the fact that Thompson did see a reduction in number of total assaults in his January to June numbers – from 545 in 2011 to 493 in 2012.
Statistics Canada draws their numbers from uniform crime reporting, and pull their stats from the Thompson RCMP database. Duff explains that discrepancies may appear in the Statistics Canada Juristat Crime Severity Index depending on what numbers they actually draw from.
“I’m not sure whether they (Stats Canada) used the numbers reported or the actual numbers,” said Duff, “how it works is that sometimes a crime may be reported as one thing, but through our investigation we find it to be something else.”
The inspector’s numbers are an overview of the crimes reported, and don’t discern whether the reports were founded, unfounded or if charges were laid or not.
An area in the statistics that saw an increase from years past was the total for drugs, which saw a jump from 85 a year ago to 133 in 2012. The numbers however aren’t as bothersome to Duff as the violent crimes, and he explains that the numbers may have seen a jump due to added enforcement on drugs.
“Some of our main priorities are drugs, guns and gangs, and we’re putting a lot of enforcement and a lot of effort in to it,” said Duff, “we do receive calls from the public with respect to drugs, which would generate a file, but we’re also putting a lot of proactive effort in that area.”
The same can be said for the increase in total number of provincial traffic infractions, which saw a jump largely due to added enforcement, rather than an increased amount of complaints from the public.
“I’d prefer to have everyone doing traffic,” Duff said, “because that means we have no problems with violence or drugs.”
Duff has worked all over Manitoba, with Thompson being his tenth stop. He most recently came here from London, Ont.
When asked how Thompson stacks up to other communities he’s policed with regards to violence and how safe the city really is, Duff responded with, “I have a seven-year-old and eight-year-old at home; if I didn’t think it was safe for them I wouldn’t be here.”
For the time being, Duff seems pleased with the numbers, but acknowledges that the process is one that is ongoing and that it is important to have a uniformed presence as much as possible in both the downtown and around the city.
“I’m happy with how things are right now,” said Duff. “Is there room for us to be more effective? Of course, we’re always looking at ways we can improve. The numbers are positive right now and I hope they keep trending in that direction, but I can be happy right now and things could change over night.”
For a full look at Insp. Duff’s statistics, check on-line at www.thompson.ca under the minutes and agendas section from the Sept. 4 regular meeting of council.