Mayor Bob Simpson started off the city council meeting on Tuesday (May 28) by discussing the highlights of the Public Safety and Policing Committee meeting held on May 13.
First on that list was a general crime trend review.
According to Quesnel RCMP statistics, property crimes in general have been reduced by 15 percent when comparing the first quarter of 2019 with that of the previous year.
“That’s a pretty substantive decrease,” said Simpson. “Particularly in smash and grabs and in petty theft of property … That is really a testament for the fact that a very small number of individuals can create a lot of community pain.”
Mayor Simpson said three high-volume criminals were brought into custody and it seems to have made a difference.
He also pointed out that contrary to what it may seem like, crimes against persons are similar to 2018.
Last year there were 138 crimes against person for the first quarter, while the same period this year saw 141.
“Despite the fact that couple of crimes against persons got a lot of press, the actual trend line remains stable,” Simpson said. “We’d like to see it down but it’s stable.”
Of note were the impaired driving numbers.
They were up 20, going from 16 in the first three months of 2018 to 36 in 2019.
“When we get complaints from some of our establishment owners about our drunk driving programs, I think we need to keep that in mind,” Simpson said. “If anything we actually need more programs out there targeted to nip that in the bud.”
Also of concern were domestic violence charges.
From January until March of 2018, there were 64 offences, while the first quarter of 2019 had 73.
Somewhat surprisingly to some, drug related offences are down so far in 2019. There were 39 narcotics charges laid in the first quarter of last year, while only 24 in the same time period in 2019.
The city is still engaged with its Quesnel Safer program, which is aiming to counter crime with a multi-pronged plan.
Stakeholders include Mayor and Council, RCMP, Bylaw, Health and Social Services, and local First Nation communities and neighbourhoods.