North end crime calls decline

  • Nov. 6, 2013 12:00 p.m.

Masset RCMP received far fewer calls for service during July, August and September this year than they did in the same three-month period of 2012, Cpl. Glen Breckon told Port Clements council Monday night (Nov. 4). There could be many reasons for the drop, Cpl. Breckon said, including RCMP initiatives, different ways of counting files, and economic conditions, but it is a welcome trend. There were 346 calls for service this summer, compared to 445 the year before – a 22 percent decrease. Calls were down in every village in the detachment – Masset, Old Massett and Port Clements – although they rose slightly in the rural areas, outside village limits. That’s because the RCMP undertook several seasonal patrols out on the water, to check on boats, and on North Beach, Cpl. Breckon explained. RCMP did receive several complaints about impaired drivers that turned out to be unfounded, Cpl. Breckon said, but these calls still count in the statistics. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that impaired driving is increasing, just that more people reported possible impaired drivers,” he said. “That said, we encourage the public to report all suspected impaired drivers in an effort to make our roads safer.” The RCMP take calls about drinking drivers very seriously and will investigate all of them, he said. Councillor Urs Thomas asked whether the RCMP keep separate statistics for drivers impaired by drugs rather than alcohol. Cpl. Breckon responded that the bulk of driving offences here are alcohol-related, and that although it’s dangerous to drive while impaired by drugs, it is challenging for police to pursue these types of charges. Alcohol levels can be measured, in contrast to drug impairment, which requires testing by a qualified expert. Councillor Matt Gaspar said now that the nights are longer and that deer hunting season is well underway, he has serious concerns about the amount of pitlamping, or night hunting, going on in the areas outside Port Clements. “I know a lot of people are starting to get really fed up with it,” he said, due to the danger posed by hunters shooting in the darkness. Sgt. Blake Ward responded that pitlamping is not something RCMP can pursue because judges in BC have ruled that First Nations can hunt at night. The RCMP can look out for other violations like loaded guns in vehicles, or drinking and driving, he said. Hunting from the road or in areas where people live can also result in charges, he said, although these offences can be difficult to prove. Sgt. Ward and Cpl. Breckon thanked Mr. Gaspar for sharing his concerns, and invited the council members to visit the Masset detachment any time for a tour of the recent renovations.

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