Many types of crime were down in Thompson this summer and for the first eight months of the year overall, the officer in charge of the Thompson detachment told city council at their Sept. 8 meeting.
Compared to 2019, Thompson RCMP have responded to fewer reports of sexual assault, assault, break-and-enter, theft, public disorder, robberies and traffic collisions this year. Domestic assaults, drug offences, mischief and other Criminal Code offences, Criminal Cods traffic infractions and homicides are up from last year.
The total number of calls for service to the detachment over the months of June, July and August, was about 6,400.
“It’s approximately 4.5 per cent less than last summer which was a busy summer,” acting officer in charge Sgt. Chris Hastie said Monday.
The only types of calls that were higher in June 2020 than last year were mental health calls and calls for service to both the YWCA, where 25 homeless people deemed to be at higher risk from COVID-19 have been housed since the spring, and the City Centre Mall. Calls to both those locations were also higher in July and August of this year than in 2019. July also saw a higher number of assaults, assaults causing bodily harm or assaults with weapons, aggravated assaults, mental health calls, disturbing the peace incidents and calls for service to the homeless shelter than in 2019.
Calls about missing persons are well below what they were through the first eight months of 2019, thanks in part to the establishment of a permanent StreetReach team in Thompson to develop relationships with youth who are risk of going missing, running away from foster or group homes and being exploited. Thompson RCMP referred more than 230 cases to StreetReach from June through August.
“The program has been quite successful here in Thompson,” Hastie said. “I think one of the reasons why there’s less kids being reported missing to the RCMP is a lot of the kids, AWOLs [absent without leave], are actually calling StreetReach themselves for rides and going home that way so it kind of circumnavigates the usual process of calling the RCMP and reporting them missing.”
Calls for service to the City Centre Mall totalled 342 over the past three months.
“It’s evident that between 2020 and 2019 we’ve seen an increase especially in the summer time,” said Hastie.
RCMP have also worked with the city to address problem areas where people gathered to drink, Hastie said, including a stand of trees across from the liquor store near the old Staples building.
“i referred that to the city’s action and the trees are gone,” said Hastie, who agreed with Coun. Jeff Fountain that outdoor lighting is also a deterrent to crime.
“People are less apt to do violent acts when there’s light and most of our crime happens at night, not during the day,” he said.
Deputy mayor Les Ellsworth, who chaired the meeting because Mayor Colleen Smook was out of town, expressed thanks on council’s behalf to Hastie and the officers under his command.
“It’s not an easy job,” said Ellsworth. “It’s a very tough city.”