Violent crime is up and public disorder and drug offences are down for the first seven months of 2022, according to an RCMP report provided to Thompson city council at their Sept. 20 committee of the whole meeting.
The municipal policing report for July was presented by Thompson RCMP detachment acting officer-in-charge Staff Sgt. Shane Flanagan.
There had been 994 assaults, 165 domestic assaults and four homicides in Thompson up to the end of July this year, compared to 928, 148 and zero at the same point of last year. Provincial traffic offences have gone up by 388 calls compared to the first seven months of 2021.
“Where we’re down in calls for service up to this point in the year are with the public disorder calls as well as the sexual assault investigations and traffic accidents,” Flanagan said.
Public disorder calls, including responses to intoxicated persons, are down 580 from where they were at the end of July 2021, while Criminal Code mischief calls are down 340 from the same point last year.
There have also been 45 fewer drug offences over the first seven months of this year compared to the same period in 2021.
The Thompson detachment is currently short three supervisory positions from its full complement of 38 members — a detachment commander and two staff sergeants, including one with the general investigative section, said Flanagan, the only non-commissioned officer at the detachment right now. A new officer-in-charge has already been assigned but is waiting for his house to sell in B.C. before moving.
“Hopeful he can get his home sold out there and relocate here to Thompson sooner than later,” said Flanagan, who noted that the detachment also has six municipal employee positions open, though one may be filled soon.
The detachment has been tracking the number of calls its officers respond to that require them to wait with mental health patients at Thompson General Hospital as well as the number of hours of police time that takes up. The mayor has also been informed of what communities the prisoners lodged in Thompson RCMP cells come from over the past few months.
The purpose of collecting that data is to give the city accurate statistics when it lobbies for government support in dealing with its downtown and crime issues. Two councillors were dismayed that they were only learning of the community of residence numbers for prisoners secondhand and suggested all councillors should receive the same information as the mayor.
“I would certainly like that information as an individual on council,” said Coun. Jeff Fountain.
”If that means it has to be in camera or whatever because of the confidential nature I’m OK with that but what I’m not OK with is coming to know there’s numbers out there that we as elected officials don’t know about,” said Coun, Les Ellsworth. “In the future I would rather that it would be provided rather than being asked for.”
With regard to the hours spent with mental health crisis patients at the hospital, Coun, Kathy Valentino asked if those numbers could also be broken down to reflect where the patients in question are from.
“It’s not any extra work,” said Flanagan “If that’s going to provide value to you folks that are fighting those political battles then we’ll certainly get that for you,”
The staff sergeant said he just received the statistics for August earlier that day and would share them with council at one of their committee of the whole meetings in October.