Published: December 20, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
It was a significantly busy third quarter for members of the Red Lake Ontario Provincial Police detachment.
Acting Staff Sargent Matt Norlock reported this week the detachment had received a 20 per cent increase in calls for service in the three communities in the period between July to September calling the spike “quite dramatic.”
Presenting the third quarter update to municipal council at their Regular Council Meeting on Dec. 18, Norlock said calls for service in Pikangikum almost reached 600 this quarter while Red Lake and Ear Falls had 255 and 78 respectively. Calls related to the highway and unorganized areas rose by 28.
Norlock attributed the busyness of the detachment to a decline in traffic enforcement throughout the detachment area.
“With our calls for service there are several different reasons for that,” said Norlock addressing a 77.9 per cent decrease in criminal code and provincial statute charges laid during the quarter.
“We were working between a 67-75 per cent front line operational capacity, we had some members that were off. Of course the dramatic increase in calls, the direct operational and administrative [duties] due to Pikangikum plus our increase calls and manpower, population declines in the community and public awareness all has a part to play in those numbers coming down.”
According to the third quarter report violent crime in Red Lake has seen an over 45 per cent increase in the last two years of the reported quarter due to assaults and sexual assaults. Norlock says the incidents have been mostly due to alcohol use and/or the result of domestic violence.
Norlock also pointed to the clearance rate of the detachment related to property crime that sits at over 49 per cent to date, which is well above the national average.
“We are quite satisfied with that,” noted Norlock.
The detachment is expected to receive four new graduates in February that will increase the number of front line staff working in both Ear Falls and Red Lake.