The Thompson RCMP’s calls for service rose by more than 2,000 – an average of 6.7 calls per day – from 2018 to reach about 20,800 in 2019, the detachment’s acting officer-in-charge told the City of Thompson public safety committee at their Jan. 9 meeting.
Sexual assaults went up from 2018, said Sgt. Chris Hastie, possibly because people are more comfortable reporting them to police than they have been in the past, as did the number of people taken to cells under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act and the number of residential break-and-enters.
“There’s been a notable increase in assaults as well,” said Hastie, noting that many of them are complaints about pushing and shoving rather than actual fighting and that police do extra patrols on Friday and Saturday nights, resulting in more enforcement targeted at people who are unruly and intoxicated in public.
Traffic infractions and charges also spiked thanks to the Thompson RCMP detachment having a dedicated traffic enforcement officer, Hastie said, resulting in a large increase in the number of people arrested for impaired driving. Most of those impaired driving charges are for people who have been drinking, with an estimate of fewer than 10 drug-impaired operation charges being laid in Thompson last year.
City manager Anthony McInnis said he recently did a ride-along with the Thompson RCMP’s traffic enforcement officer and appreciates the work he’s doing.
“We can see the payoff in the number of people we’re getting off the road who could be a menace,” said the city manager.
Hastie said the officer feels strongly about traffic enforcement and people stopped by him feel strongly as well.
“Some people more or less despise this person,” Hastie said, noting that in a recent five-day stretch, 24 people driving unregistered vehicles, one of them a brand-new 2019 pickup truck, had been stopped “which I think is crazy for a small little town.”
Hastie said police were aware of who had been committing some recent high-profile crimes, saying that youth offenders previously involved in incidents last summer had come back to the community after serving sentences and resumed committing crimes.
“We know who the youth are,” Hastie said.
Mayor Colleen Smook also noted that Thompson's first homicide of 2020 fit a familiar pattern.
“It was an out-of-town person killed by an out-of-town person,” she said.
Hastie said the RCMP were having a debriefing for members this week in the wake of that homicide because many Thompson officers are just starting out their careers and may not have had to respond to violent crimes like this before.