‘Some of the numbers for violent crime are concerning’: South Bruce detachment commander presents OPP year end report to Brockton
March 25, 2022 By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Mar. 25, 2022, Brockton, Ont. – Inspector Krista Miller, South Bruce OPP, presented the 2021 year-end report to Brockton council March 8.
The report consisted of crime statistics and an update of what’s happening in the detachment.
Miller noted that “some of the numbers for violent crime are concerning.” She said sexual assaults had increased (18 in 2021 from nine in 2020) and so had assaults (55 from 45).
The good news was that property crime numbers were down. Miller noted that although two cases of arson were listed, they were “small fires” that presented no danger to life. Numbers for stolen goods were up (seven from two), but Miller said that was actually good, indicating stolen items were being recovered.
For drug offences, it was pretty much status quo, she said.
Sadly, there were three traffic fatalities in 2021. Miller said charges had just been laid in one of them. Collisions involving personal injury numbered 18, up from 12 in 2020.
There were also more traffic complaints in 2021 than 2020 – 189 from 165.
Miller drew attention to the number of RIDE programs – 102 in 2019, 33 in 2020 and 72 in 2021. The difference in numbers is due to COVID; Miller expects RIDE programs to get back to normal this year. Over the past three years, the number of cases of impaired driving has doubled –m “not good,” said Miller.
The number of calls for service has remained relatively stable, at about 2,000, with 911 misdials and false alarms among the top 10, although the 911 misdials are down from what they were. Topping the list were motor vehicle collisions. The other types of calls in the top 10 were suspicious person, assist public, property related, Mental Health Act, domestic disturbance, neighbour dispute and noise complaints.
Coun. James Lang asked about “mental health calls” at night, and if officers were having to leave the South Bruce coverage area because of the Walkerton hospital’s emergency room closure at night. Miller said she didn’t have any numbers but would check.
Last year, the second year of the Community Safety and Policing grant for human trafficking and sexual violence, was focused on youth. Miller said the Anti-Human Trafficking Committee purchased a curriculum for the Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) and the Grey Bruce Catholic District School Board (GBCDSB). A training session was created and the GBCDSB mental health leads attended the training in person in December 2021. An online version of the training was also created and will be provided to the BWDSB.
The committee also created two videos in 2021. One is an awareness video and was included in the packages for the school boards. The other is a training video for officers. Approximately 20 school resource officers from the OPP and municipal police services across Grey Bruce, Huron, Perth and Wellington attended an in-person training session in December 2021. The focus of the committee for 2022 is education and awareness for service providers and continued training for the general public and officers.
Miller also spoke of the partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to create the mobile mental health and addictions response team that has completed its first full year. The clinicians are provided an office in the Walkerton detachment and respond to mental health and addictions related calls for service with officers. From May 2021, officers have attended over 60 calls for service with MMHART workers, successfully providing resources and support to those struggling with mental health and addictions issues. Officers have also made 150 referrals to MMHART after the fact.
South Bruce OPP has actively participated as a partner in the refresh of the Situation Table _ Acute Risk (STAR) program facilitated by the Community Safety and Well Being Committee. STAR plays a critical role in connecting individuals and families, who are at acutely elevated risk, with services and support. The Situation Table is a collaborative of the municipalities of Bruce and Grey, police services and social services and community-based organizations that identify and support individuals at an acutely elevated risk of harm, committing an offence, or coming into contact with the police or other crisis-driven services. From its inception in 2016 STAR facilitated 17 Situation Tables for people identified to be at acute risk. Since the refresh in 2021 starting on July 1, eight situations have been successfully facilitated. With each success we anticipate even more referrals, said Miller in the report.
South Bruce officers participated in a Cops for Cancer fundraiser in October, cycling from the Walkerton office to the Kincardine office – 40 kilometres. Over $3,000 was raised.
The detachment welcomed four new recruits in 2021; three more arrived in February, and another is scheduled to arrive this spring. The detachment bid farewell to Sgt. Keegan Wilcox who was promoted to staff sergeant and transferred to Grey Bruce OPP. There’s currently a sergeant competition underway, for two new sergeants, one for Kincardine and one for Walkerton.
– The Walkerton Herald Times
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