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New Street Crime Unit part of OPP Action Plan

Prince Edward OPP has implemented a new community street crime unit with an eye to reducing property crimes and illicit drugs in the County.

John Hatch, new commander for the Prince Edward County OPP Detachment

The ‘Community Street Crime Unit’ is being implemented by detachments across the province. Staff Sergeant John Hatch, the PEC OPP’s new detachment commander, told council Tuesday night two officers will be working plain-clothed, full-time, in the County, in conjunction with officers from Napanee, Quinte West, Frontenac, Madoc and Belleville City.

“Their sole focus is going to be preventing break and enters and working on the drug problem that we have in our communities,” said Hatch.

There were 114 assaults, and 21 sexual assaults in the detachment’s crime data for 2016, compared to 162 assaults and 20 sexual assaults reported in 2015. Property crimes showed a reduction in all areas except fraud which was up almost 33 per cent over last year. There were 13 drug possession calls and five trafficking incidents last year, up from three in 2015.

Through the OPP’s ‘Action Plan for 2017-19, Hatch said the detachment will focus on the reduction of harms and victimization, specifically violent crime, property crime, illicit drugs and cyber crime.

“We will also continue to partner, engage and educate to find solutions in demands for service involving persons with mental health issues, or in a mental crisis.”

Crime is typically broken into four categories – violent crime (domestic assaults, assaults, sexual assaults) property crime (break and enter, thefts, mischiefs, illicit drugs and cyber crimes).

With regard to violent crime, Hatch said extensive work continues through a ‘Situation Table’ created last fall, that involves many community resources (police, childrens’ aid, victims’ services, addictions and mental health, social services, etc) meeting on a regular basis.

“By meeting, we are attempting to reduce the instances of domestic assault, assault and sexual assault by identifying victims through analytics so we can reach out to these people ahead of time and give them the resources that they need.”

The OPP has also launched ‘The Brief Mental Health Screener’ which collects data from incidents where an officer has dealt with somebody with mental health issues. The data is intended to improve the detachment’s efficiences, as well as those of the health care systems and hospitals to reduce wait times.

“We also take that data to the Situation Table,” said Hatch. “This to help individuals having problems and give them the supports that they need so that the next time they get into that crisis mode, they have the answers to fix it, so they don’t have to call police. That will reduce our calls for service.

Also being looked at in the County is a False Alarm Registry to combat the number of false alarm calls – 1,118 in the last three years – amounting to more one a day.

“The calls take up our resources because we have to respond,” Hatch told council. “The False Alarm Registry is currently in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and in the course of the last five years, they have reduced their false alarms by 60 per cent. That’s what I would like to look at.”

Hatch is pleased with results from the new speed signs placed on a rotating basis in the County’s smaller communities. He noted that over the Canada Day long weekend, among the thousands of vehicles that went through the County, there were just five collisions – four in the parking lot at Sandbanks and one in a parking lot in Picton.

“We had none on the highways that weekend. Part of that is that we’re out there, visible and people are minding speed… Everybody knows the OPP is huge on safety and what we want to do is increase highway safety through our visibility, education, engagement and enforcement – that’s what we do. We have what’s called ‘The Big Four’ – speeding, seatbelts, distracted driving and impaired driving. That’s what we are out there doing stopping cars every day.”

He also noted commitment to increasing the number of RIDE programs, marine, bicycle and ATV patrols in the County. He also wants to see the officers in schools more often and to continue partnerships in the community that focus on cyber crime.

“Cyber crime. I could talk for a half an hour on it. That is how crime has changed. No longer is the bad guy living 10 kms away. The victims are local, but he perpetrators could be anywhere in the world and with technology, it’s prevalent.”

In the daily routine, Hatch said it all comes down to one word – safety.

“It’s all about personal safety, public safety, highway safety, and what encompasses that, is community safety,” he said, noting there will be more information soon on the OPP’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan to be implemented in the weeks and months to come.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Fred says:

    It seems there has been little success in resolving break and enters of small businesses. No action plan to reduce speed in urban residential areas. No foot patrols. Got to get a few officers off of Hwy 62 once in a while.

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