Burns Lake’s crime rate decreased

Burns Lake RCMP's quarterly policing report shows criminal activity in Burns Lake has decreased.

St. Sgt. Grant MacDonald

St. Sgt. Grant MacDonald

Burns Lake RCMP’s quarterly policing report shows criminal activity in Burns Lake has decreased.

The report, prepared by St. Sgt. Grant MacDonald who arrived in Burns Lake in August 2011, shows that between July 1, 2011, and Sept. 30, 2011, reported incidences of crime have dropped compared to the same time period last year.

During this quarter, members of the Burns Lake RCMP detachment responded to 1,145 calls for service, which is a six per cent decrease compared to the same period last year whereby 1,215 calls were reported.

The number of prisoners lodged in the detachment’s cells is down to 160 from 214, during the same time frame last year.

Overall for the year 2011, the Burns Lake RCMP responded to 2,938 calls for service and lodged 430 prisoners. This compares to 2010, whereby 3,366 calls for service were made and 650 prisoners were lodged in the local cells.

This represents a decrease in annual calls for service of 15 per cent, and a 51 per cent decrease in prisoners lodged.

Staff Sergeant McDonald said, “Locally, the number of prisoners lodged is significantly down over the past three years. The Burns Lake detachment has on average, over the past three years, lodged 899 prisoners each calendar year. It is my belief that the reduction is due in part, to the present economic status of the Burns Lake area. I also believe that the reduction is due in part, to decisions being made by people in our community as it relates to drinking in a public place. People are making better decisions about drinking in public spaces by finding alternative locations. Finally, I believe our members are making a concerted effort in utilizing the community to identifying alternative solutions for placement of acutely intoxicated people.”

During 2011, over 49 per cent of the calls for service came from the Village of Burns Lake, while 23.4 per cent came from Lake Babine Nation, 22.1 per cent from Burns Lake’s rural areas, 2.5 per cent from Burns Lake Band, 1.5 per cent from Cheslatta Carrier Nation, and less that one per cent from both the Nee Tahi Buhn Band and Skin Tyee Bands.

According to St. Sgt. MacDonald there is 15 officers, two RCMP based victims services workers and eight guards on duty at the Burns Lake Detachment.

Of the 15 officers, eight are provincially funded constable positions.

“Presently, the Burns Lake RCMP detachment has nine constables as two are cadets having recently arrived from Saskatchewan, accordingly there is one constable that is surplus to the detachment.”

There are two federally funded First Nations policing officers, whose primary responsibilities are to the six First Nation communities in the area.

The remainder of the positions are provincially funded.

The quarterly report also details the detachment’s operating budget for 2011 and 2012 at $179,600.

“This budget is split between provincial policing and First Nations policing. Of the $179,600 the province funds $142,600 while the federal government funds $37,000. At this time the Burns Lake Detachment is not incurring any financial pressures,” St. Sgt. MacDonald reports.

A youth and school liaison program has also been initiated during 2011.

According to the report, there was no official RCMP visit to any local school at the year end of September 2010. In comparison, by the end of September 2011 there had been 25 visits to local schools.

“Youth is one of the RCMP’s strategic priorities and has traditionally always placed a significant value on engagement of youth through involvement in local schools. To more effectively demonstrate our commitment to youth, the Burns Lake RCMP detachment has been more diligent in tracking members involvement in schools. Presently, members are being encouraged to document their involvement so as to support being able to communicate to our community, how we are involved,” St. Sgt. MacDonald added.