Flavio Nienow photo                                Corporal Greg Willcocks with the Burns Lake RCMP presents the detachment’s second quarter statistics to Burns Lake staff and council on Sept. 6, 2017.

Flavio Nienow photo Corporal Greg Willcocks with the Burns Lake RCMP presents the detachment’s second quarter statistics to Burns Lake staff and council on Sept. 6, 2017.

Public intoxication down in Burns Lake area

RCMP believe targeting the red zone has made a difference

Targeting the so-called “red zone” in Burns Lake’s downtown core has led to a decrease in public intoxication in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to the Burns Lake RCMP.

The red zone stretches from Hwy. 16 – between Third Avenue and the Lakeview Mall – to Burns Lake. The pilot project was implemented on June 7, 2017, effectively turning a portion of the downtown core into a “zero tolerance” zone.

According to Corporal Greg Willcocks with the Burns Lake RCMP, possession of alcohol in a public place and public intoxication saw a reduction of 21 per cent in the red zone in 2017 – from June 1 to Aug. 30 – compared to the same period in 2016.

“We are quite happy with that,” said Willcocks. “Our goal was to be very visible to everybody in the community and to interact with people.”

In total, RCMP officers conducted 270 foot patrols between June 8 and Aug. 30, 2017. Each of these patrols were conducted by one or more RCMP officers and lasted between 30 minutes to an hour.

“A lot of our work has been proactive,” said Willcocks. “When we initiate a file in the red zone, it’s not necessarily because we received a call for service from the public, it’s because we found the offence being committed and acted on it appropriately.”

Willcocks said targeting the red zone may have also had an impact on the broader detachment coverage area, which saw a reduction of 26 per cent in alcohol related cases. And when combining alcohol related offences with “causing disturbance” offences, Burns Lake saw a decrease of approximately 15 per cent in the second quarter compared to 2016.

“Last year we found that only 10 per cent of the assaults occurred in the red zone; but when we dug deeper into that, we found that initially they were down here [in the red zone], and then they go to other areas and cause issues there because they are intoxicated,” Willcocks explained earlier this year. “Our theory with this model is that, if we’re proactive and deal with this [substance abuse issue] before people go out and commit other offences, we’re actually reducing the amount of crime in other areas.”

Willcocks added hat targeting the red zone is not just about enforcement. The RCMP has partnered with the Village of Burns Lake to connect people struggling with substance abuse with local addiction services.

“When we go and interact with people, we not only interact with them as police officers, but we also educate them,” he said. “I think that education has helped.”

Burns Lake council said they were pleased with the frequent RCMP patrols in the downtown core.

“That’s really exciting that you’ve had 270 foot patrols,” said councillor Susan Schienbein. “I have seen a couple members when I’ve been out driving, day and night, and it’s awesome to see it; if that’s what’s attributing to some of those decreases that’s really fabulous.”

Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach said this initiative has also contributed to the popularity of the municipal campground this summer.

“The community is genuinely more comfortable going down there,” said Beach. “It makes a big difference.”

Councillor Kelly Holliday added that she noticed a minimal amount of graffiti and vandalism this summer and that she believes the frequent patrols have made a difference.

Spike in break and enters

Although public intoxication is down compared to last year, the Burns Lake RCMP detachment has seen a significant spike in the number of break and enters.

In the second quarter of 2017, Burns Lake had 23 break and enters. During the same period in 2016, eight cases were reported. However, according to corporal Greg Willcocks with the Burns Lake RCMP, these numbers can be misleading.

“When you look at the incidents that are happening, some are legitimate break and enters – somebody has gone into someone’s house when they were gone, maybe broke a window to get in or a door to get in; sometimes items are stolen and sometimes they are not,” he explained. “But we also had a lot of cases where it is called a break and enter, but it is really someone unwanted in the premise; nothing is actually damaged, but they come uninvited into the house.”

Earlier this summer, Burns Lake resident Sandra Lynn Brocklebank-elrick described how she found a strange man walking inside her home. Although she said that she wasn’t concerned for her safety, she worries that there might not be enough support for people struggling with addictions or mental health issues in the Burns Lake area.

Burns Lake council will meet with B.C.’s Ministry of Health to discuss mental health and addiction issues at the upcoming Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, which will take place on Sept. 25-29, 2017.

Burns Lake RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
‘Lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’ say RDBN directors on CN’s response

Frustrated over lack of solutions, despite communicating their concerns to CN

Barbara Patrick. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Former Burns Lake local to play the first Indigenous character in a Hallmark movie

Barbara Patrick, a former LDSS student takes a huge step for the Indigenous community

The Burns Lake RCMP is supportive of having a ticketing bylaw in place even though there would be limitations on what they could ticket on. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake might be getting a ticketing bylaw

Will help extend RCMP’s authority to attend to noise complaints

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

Most Read