Published: August 31, 2016
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Impaired driving continues to be a problem in the Red Lake district. Staff Sergeant Shaun Crabbe appeared before Council on Aug. 22 to provide an update on the 2nd quarter for the OPP and noted a large number of charges continue to be laid against drivers who have been drinking.
“I worked a couple night shifts this weekend just to stay in touch and we had three impaired drivers within about four hours that were arrested. It is all age groups and both genders. It seems to be a universal issue that we are battling,” he explained during the meeting.
Crabbe added criminal code, non-traffic related offences has gone down and the number of charges overall has decreased seven per cent over 2015.
For the second quarter, which covers April to June, the Red Lake Detachment received approximately 2,800 calls, with Pikangikum First Nation calls for service continuing to make up the bulk with 1,993. Crabbe notes overall calls for service are down 15-20, depending on the geographical location.
“Annually we respond to 13,000 calls for service as a detachment. The quarter we are in right now, the third quarter, summer going to into hunting season, is by far our busiest…As you know that will have direct impacts on municipal billing.”
From April to June Criminal Code and Provincial Statute charges equalled 314 with 120 relating to the Highway Traffic Act and 60 related to the Liquor License Act. In Traffic Related charges 75 speeding ticket were issued, 7 tickets for seat belts, 24 impaired charges and 3 distracted driving charges.
The OPP says the primary cause of motor vehicle collisions to date continues to be inattentive drivers and those driving too fast for the conditions. These drivers make up 51 per cent of the collisions in 2016.
In the Red Lake district specifically there were 25 assaults in the second quarter, two of a sexual nature and six “crimes against a person.” In property crime there were four break and enters, seven cases of theft under, two cases of fraud and 5 cases of mischief. The drug crime statistics note there were three charges laid for possession.
Staff Sgt. Crabbe’s report also noted the detachment continues to face staffing pressures as approximately 55 per cent of the constable positions are “vacant, absent due to compassionate/medical/WSIB/parental leave or are otherwise non-operational.” In Q2 three recruits were posted to Red Lake and commenced duties at the beginning of June. An additional two officers are expected to arrive in October.