North end crime rate down

  • Nov. 28, 2007 5:00 p.m.

The crime rate at the north end of the islands has dropped by more than 8-percent so far this year compared to last year, RCMP Sgt. Jim Vardy told Masset council Monday night (Nov. 26). The formation of a Healthy Communities Committee which has been looking at the root causes of crime and the start of a citizens on patrol group are both factors in the crime drop, Sgt. Vardy said. “Violence is down which is a really good thing,” Sgt. Vardy said. “I think this is a little small step in the right direction.” Reported and actual crimes were lower in almost every area except for break and enters. So far this year (until Oct. 31), there had been 115 break-ins, compared to 51 in the first 10 months of 2006. Sgt. Vardy said this year’s break and enters were almost all recorded in the first few months, and that there has been a dramatic drop from that point. “There were 106 break and enters up until May 1,” he said. “We’ve only had nine since then.” The huge spike in break and enter offenses resulted in two well-attended community meetings earlier this year, and led to the formation of the citizens on patrol, a group of volunteers who have been watching over Masset’s streets at night. Sgt. Vardy said one person convicted of break and entering is still in jail, while two others are on probation. Several Masset citizens have also been attending court, which Sgt. Vardy said is a valuable indication that the community cares about what is going on. “This has had a benefit as these people have been noticed by the judiciary,” he wrote in his report to council. Meanwhile, the Healthy Communities Committee has been meeting the first Tuesday of every month at Chief Matthews School, and has been working to address the social issues that lead to crime, he said. The committee identified four key areas to focus on, which are substance abuse, violence, youth programs and respect. Sgt. Vardy also told council that he will be leaving Masset by Feb. 1 for a promotion to Prince Rupert, where he will become the Staff Sergeant Operations NCO at the Prince Rupert City detachment. “My wife and I have really enjoyed our posting to Masset and will find it very difficult to leave this community,” he said.