The Trail and Greater District RCMP detachment released its second-quarter crime statistics revealing a downward trend in criminal activity.
The statistics cover reported incidents and calls for service from April 1 to June 30, but also include a breakdown of year-to-date totals (Jan. 1 to June 30) for a variety of crimes and misdemeanors. The statistics provide no detail of the nature or severity of the crime, only an overview of categorized cases.
“The total number of criminal code offences (reported crimes) dropped by 68 in the second quarter,” said Sgt. Mike Wicentowich in a release. “This is a notable drop and such a change can occur for a number of reasons such as the arrest or release of a prolific offender, changes in population numbers due to changing seasons, or even the weather. Although the current pandemic may have played a role, it’s too early to tell.”
Compared to last year, statistics show that most criminal activity has declined within the Greater Trail area, which includes Rossland, Warfield, Fruitvale, Montrose, the Regional District Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) and Trail.
The only municipality to show an increase in reported crimes was Warfield increasing from 10 in 2019 to 27 in the second quarter of 2020.
Trail RCMP reported only one attempted homicide through the first half of 2020. An employee at the Montrose gas station was attacked and stabbed by a 30-year-old man who ran out of the store and was later found dead of a self-inflicted stab wound.
In Trail, the most alarming increase came in the theft from motor vehicles category which went from just eight in 2019’s second-quarter to 35 over the same time in 2020. Warfield jumped from one to six over the same period, while in the other four municipalities, theft from motor vehicles was almost non-existant, reporting just one incident combined.
“Theft from motor vehicles tend to have highs and lows, fluctuating from quarter to quarter,” said Wicentowich. “A review of these statistics for the entire year is required to determine if it is increasing or decreasing overall.
“The public has increased reporting of thefts from vehicles to the Trail and Greater District RCMP, which is reflected in the statistics. The best way to prevent theft is still for the public to lock up their homes and vehicles and protect their valuables.”
Break and enters in Trail were down from 31 to 25, and assaults also decreased, going from 80 in the first half of 2019 to 51 in 2020. However, reports of sexual offences jumped in Trail from five to 12 over the same period.
Drug investigations are up slightly from 2019, 20 to 24 in Q2, while robbery (one) and auto thefts (two) remained similar to the previous year’s statistics.
“Investigations into drug trafficking have been excellent this year to date with a number of significant arrests and seizures being conducted by front line officers and specialized units,” said Wicentowich. “Drug addiction and trafficking remains pervasive and an ongoing issue in every community.”
Motor vehicle violations saw a drop of more than 40 in Q2, going from 204 in 2019 to 162 in 2020. Overall in the first half of 2020, impaired driving resulting in immediate roadside prohibition fell from 21 in 2019 to eight in 2020.
In addition, responses to community call outs, which include negative contact with youth, mental health related calls, files involving drugs and alcohol, domestic violence, wellbeing checks, and suspicious activity, continued to fluctuate.
“Overall, there were 60 fewer calls for service, which is not statistically significant,” explained Wicentowich. “The type of calls in the pandemic is significant as the RCMP seem to be completing more non-crime related tasks like checking on the well-being of local residents.”
Mental health related calls throughout the region increased significantly, going from 79 in 2019 Q2 to 130 in 2020, with COVID-19 being a contributing factor. Files involving drugs and alcohol declined from 155 to 92 in Q2 and domestic violence from 10 cases to nine in Greater Trail.
“Mental health, check well-being, and unspecified assistance reflect the largest increase in non-crime related calls. Calls for the RCMP to investigate suspicious persons/vehicles/occurrences continue to be a significant factor.
“Domestic violence remained the same and is still very low statistically. Reducing domestic violence is a priority in the Trail and Greater District RCMP and these statistics reflect those efforts.
“First responders are here to keep you safe 24/7, even during the pandemic. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local police.”
The total calls for service from April 1 to June 30 was 1,608 compared to 1,666 in 2019.