The detachment reported a slight drop of 11 calls from the previous quarter. Of the 204 calls for service between Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, police dealt with several high profile files where charges of domestic assault, dangerous use of a weapon, trafficking in cocaine and assault charges were laid in three unrelated cases, but noted all individuals charged have attended court and are currently in custody.
Traffic remains a priority with the detachment, which issued 66 warning and tickets this past quarter, compared to 87 in the first and 51 in the second.
Over the holidays police completed several roadblocks for drinking and driving and driving licence and insurance checks, issuing three 24-hour roadside suspensions, and four 30-day vehicle impounds and 90-day driving prohibitions.
The police continue to make community outreach a priority with elementary and high school students, assisting and participating in both regular school-related activities and other special events.
Of the 215 calls made to police 77 came from Queen Charlotte, 57 from Skidegate, 25 from Sandspit, 17 for administration and assistance and 28 from all other locations including highway and water.
In terms of offences, nine calls were received regarding liquor, and of those two individuals were charged and placed in cells for their well being, the report read. In four other offences the RCMP located the individuals and simply gave them a ride to their residencies.
A total of four files were created fro drug-related offices. In once case cocaine, methamphetamine, firearms and ammunition were seized. One man was arrested and transported to Prince George Correctional Centre and later released on several conditions, including a “no-go” order for Haida Gwaii.
A review of annual crime statistics by Masset RCMP shows a focus on repeat thieves is helping to keep property crime at bay.
Officers at the nine-member detachment responded to nearly 1,600 calls in 2015, 306 of which resulted in Criminal Code investigations — a nearly 10 per cent drop from 2014.
Reviewing the numbers, Corporal Peter Dionne noted that in an area of roughly 2,500 people, crime statistics can be easily skewed by a few prolific offenders.
For example, said Dionne, the north end saw a single robbery in 2014, and none at all last year — a decrease of 100 per cent.
An enforcement blitz, such as the distracted-driving crackdown announced across B.C. last week, can also skew the numbers.
But there was one significant trend over the last two years: a few spikes in property crime.
The largest dates to a spree of burglaries in the fall of 2014, which quickly fell after police charged a small group of repeat offenders.
Police saw similar, but smaller rises-and-falls in property crimes last year, with one blip in June and another in September.
“These offences were being committed by a very small group of people,” said Dionne.
“When they were identified and addressed, the offences dropped off.”
Dionne noted that, for the most part, it is very rare for Haida Gwaii to see a true ‘break and enter,’ where windows and doors are damaged to gain access.
“They tend to be crimes of opportunity,” he added, advising home and business owners to lock their doors and otherwise secure their property to deter thieves.
The Masset RCMP, who cover Masset, Old Massett and Port Clements as well as northern coastal and marine areas, recently met with village councillors to review the trends and hear community concerns.
As always, persons offences, such as assault, sexual assault, or threats, are the top police concern.
“Property can be replaced or repaired,” said Dionne.
“Public safety is our primary focus, and other considerations are secondary.”
Besides a dip in overall reported crimes, the Masset RCMP saw another welcome change last year — new officers are now assigned to the detachment for a three-year rather than a two-year term, as they are in Queen Charlotte.
Besides getting to know the community better, and having more experience when new officers join, the three-year rotation means the Masset detachment will have fewer vacancies, said Sergeant Stephan Drouin.
Four officers who were already at the detachment when the change came in last February were given the option of sticking with their original two-year posting, or increasing it to three. Most decided to take the extra year.
“It speaks positively about the level of morale for our members, and how much they’re enjoying working here,” said Drouin.