Despite dealing with more cases, the types of crime local police are handling are mostly on the decline, according to Prince George RCMP Supt. Eric Stubbs.
In his 2013 annual report presented to council Monday night, Stubbs said calls for service to the detachment increased by 1,219 files, but most of their violent offences are either down or static from previous years, as are property crime offences.
However, the amount of calls for cases involving mental health issues are continuing to rise, going from 605 in 2009 to 1,016 in 2013, a 40 per cent increase.
Stubbs said he and Insp. Brad Anderson have attended a number of meetings at the hospital about the issue.
"They're difficult calls for us, obviously. If people are suffering from a mental illness and a lot of times if they are going through a particular crisis, alcohol or drugs can be a part of that and that makes it a very high-risk business for us," Stubbs said. "It's a number I would certainly like to see come down, but we have to work even harder with our partners to try to work on this issue."
Stubbs warned council he will be asking for more money next year. This year, the police protection budget was set at $21 million, based on an allocation for 121 members. The city's contract with the federal government allows for 128 members.
But Stubbs said additional funding is required to secure the 18-month old Domestic Violence unit, the Youth at Risk unit and the Downtown Enforcement unit.
"As it stands right now we've sort of stolen from other units and general duty," he said. "They certainly... have shown great results in the year that they've been in existence and we just want to formalize those positions."
Overall, 2013 was a good year, said Stubbs.
Among the year's successes he highlighted was the domestic violence unit, where Cpl. Carla Cook has established an Integrated Case Assessment Team in the city.
Last year, the team had 22 referrals of high-risk victims and assisted these clients with various methods to keep them safe.
Cook has also ensured other RCMP members are following the strict Violence in Relationship policies and guidelines, Stubbs wrote in his report to council. The police responded to 413 physical disputes and 707 verbal disputes last year, which was consistent with previous years, wrote Stubbs.
The detachment's Youth at Risk member was also busy. Cook is part of of a number of integrated committees that have a mandate to work with high-risk youth. During the year, five formal safety plans were developed for youth. Partners include the school district, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Carrier Sekani Family Services and the Native Friendship Centre.
As far as dealing with organized crime goes, the drug section had a successful year, Stubbs wrote. They were able to disrupt two major drug operations in the city, resulting in large quantities of cocaine and cash being seized. In the fall, they also completed a project that netted 22 drug traffickers and 36 approved charges from Crown counsel.
A new initiative identifying prolific, chronic offenders or problematic properties was launched by Insp. Anderson last year. Nine prolific offenders, six chronic offenders and nine properties were identified and targeted by general duty and traffic members. The full crime reduction team targeted and jailed 38 prolific offenders, including the execution of 28 search warrants resulting in the recovery of stolen property, drugs and firearms.
The traffic unit focused on impaired drivers and initiated 381 impaired driving investigations involving drugs and/or alcohol. Road safety projects throughout the year focused on seatbelt infractions (178 tickets) and distracted drivers (220 tickets).
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