Increase in calls keeps Burns Lake RCMP busy

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

Burns Lake RCMP‘s quarterly policing report shows criminal activity in Burns Lake has increased.

The report, prepared by St. Sgt. Grant MacDonald shows incidences of crime have increased compared to the same time period last year.

During this quarter there was a 24 per cent increase in calls for service. Officers from the Burns Lake RCMP detachment responded to 923 calls for service, compared to the same period last year when 745 calls were reported.

A total of 52 per cent of the calls for service came from the Village of Burns Lake, while 23.5 per cent came from Lake Babine Nation, 17.1 per cent from Burns Lake’s rural areas, 4.6 per cent from Burns Lake Band, 1.1 per cent from Cheslatta Carrier Nation, and less that one per cent from the Nee Tahi Buhn Band.

The number of prisoners lodged in the detachment’s cells has also slightly increased to 117 from 113, during the same time frame last year.

“Burns Lake RCMP continues to closely monitor the levels of intoxicated people that are incarcerated. The average blood alcohol concentration of people lodged in the cells is 256 mgs per cent. To put this in perspective for the general public, it is more than three times the legal limit for a driver of a motor vehicle to be operating on our highways. Unfortunately alcohol continues to be a root cause of criminal behaviour in our community,” St. Sgt. MacDonald said.

He said, officers had recently picked someone up that had a blood alcohol concentration of 368 mgs per cent.

“At 400 mgs per cent it is the benchmark for death … our policy is that anyone with 350 mgs per cent or higher must be seen by a physician to be cleared for lodging in the cells,” he said.

“Twenty years ago it would have been that 100 per cent of intoxicated people would be placed in cells, but jail is not the right place for some people so we have been educating officers to provide other options, sometimes family members are willing to taken them in.”

The Burns Lake RCMP also responded to 58 false or abandoned 911 calls this quarter. Compared to 13 over the same time period last year, St. Sgt. MacDonald said that the issue continues to stretch RCMP resources unnecessarily.

There is currently 14 officers, two RCMP based victims services workers, four public service employees and eight guards employed at the Burns Lake detachment. Of the 14 officers, eight are provincially funded constable positions.

Constable Guillaume Pelletier is being transferred to Kamloops at the end on June.

There are three federally funded First Nations policing officers.

“One of the First Nations policing officers [Cst. Sherri Arkwright] has received her transfer notice but is experiencing difficulties selling her house.”

The remainder of the positions are provincially funded.

This quarter a new Chevrolet Silverado pick up truck was purchased for the detachment, as well as new radar.

“The truck will replace an older truck which has miled out, while the new radar will support enhanced speed enforcement throughout the Burns Lake policing jurisdiction. This purchase is in part, in response to increased public concerns around speeding in the community,” he added.

Priorities for the coming year including clamping down on hitchhiking. “Hitchhiking is illegal,” St. Sgt. MacDonald said.

As well as hitchhiking, Burns Lake RCMP will also be focussing on substance abuse and increasing youth safety and stepping up curfew checks. He said foot patrols through the community will increase police visibility.

The Burns Lake RCMP is also planning an on the water presence this summer, partnering with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and conservation officers to address safety issues on the water.