Creston RCMP members were marginally busier from October through December than they were in the same period in 2010, Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan told Creston town council at the Jan. 10 regular meeting.
Gollan said his members responded to 858 calls for service, 50 more than the previous third quarter of the RCMP fiscal year, which ends on March 31. He has responded to requests from local Regional District of Central Kootenay directors by breaking his detachment’s statistics into Creston and rural calls, which indicate about 60 per cent of calls originate in town.
Of particular concern, he said, is the number of false alarms and abandoned 911 calls police officers must respond to.
“These really eat into our efforts, taking away time that would be spent on other work in the community,” he said. “The number of 911 calls from cellphones, either dialled accidentally or that result from phone problems, has risen dramatically. But we are required to respond to each and it can take a member a couple of hours to determine that there was no emergency.”
While the Creston detachment includes 13 RCMP members, there have been only 11 on the job recently due to members transferring out. One replacement will be arriving from northern B.C. this month and a trainee will start on the job in February. The trainee will be required to work closely with another member for up to five months before he or she can patrol and respond to calls independently, Gollan said.
In the third quarter, robberies increased, as did arson, but sexual assaults were down considerably from the previous year, he said. While motor vehicle thefts were up, thefts under $5,000 nearly doubled, many of which can be attributed to thefts from unlocked vehicles. Incidents of property damage dropped, as were liquor offences and non-injury motor vehicle accidents.
Gollan said he has continued the practice of requiring members to keep a close eye on offenders who are released from jail with conditions.
“If they have a curfew imposed we will visit their homes to make sure they are there when they are supposed to be,” he said. “If they aren’t home, we recommend charges. That is how we caught a repeat violent offender late last year. He is now serving another 14-month jail sentence.”
Gollan invited town council to give him a short list of priorities to consider as he works to create his 2012-2013 operational plan.
“You all hear of issues within the community,” he said. “I want to make sure we are responding to the concerns of your constituents.”