Every two weeks since the middle of December, the Prince George RCMP's officer in charge of operations, Insp. Brad Anderson, has been identifying for extra attention two prolific offenders and a property whose address has become well known to police.
And police say the strategy has started to pay off.
The first offender targeted was a 61-year-old man, previously from Dawson Creek, with 113 police files in the last two years, 60 of them in 2012, despite also spending time in correctional facilities during the same period.
With his addiction issues reaching the point where he may not survive, police in partnership with lawyers and health and social workers, have been able to get the man admitted to a detox facility and have secured a bed for him at a treatment centre for one year, Cpl. Craig Douglass said.
Progress has also been made with the second chronic offender Anderson had selected - a 27-year-old man with mental health issues and known to use methamphetamine and be violent towards others.
Police have attended to 15 incidents involving this man in the last year, most of them in November and December, and in one incident, he held a knife to a family member's throat.
Working with those same community partners, police arranged a 30-day psychological assessment for the man, "which we hope will be followed up with the treatment he needs," Douglass said.
As for the problem property, the first to be targeted is in the 1800 block of Tamarack Street, a location police visited 93 times in 2012.
With support of the property owner, some constant attention and the execution of two search warrants, the tenants of the rental property have been evicted. As well, several people who then attempted to live there without permission were arrested for being unlawfully in a dwelling house and some turned out to be wanted for other offences.
"The property has been boarded up and is no longer an issue for police or members of the neighborhood," Douglass said.
Anderson said the approach is an addition to the detachment's ongoing crime reduction program and has delivered an immediate impact "not only on reducing our calls for service, but more importantly the possibility of saving lives."
It also follows on Prince George's participation in a two-year pilot program that worked along the same lines for dealing with prolific offenders.
Researchers at Simon Fraser University found a 40-per-cent reduction in further offending during the first-year followup period compared to their criminal behaviour prior to their involvement in the pilot project.
They also found an increased use of health services and housing and other social services, while having fewer police contacts and spending less time in custody.