Seven hundred fewer calls were received by the Prince Rupert RCMP in 2021, according to data released on Dec. 28, detailing year-end numbers for the city’s detachment.
“[Fewer] calls means that we’re having [fewer] people affected by negative things in the city,” Const. Brody Hemrich, media relations officer for the Prince Rupert branch, said.
Prince Rupert RCMP received a total of 8,435 files, with 636 of those resulting in charges being recommended. Of the files recommended for charges, 21 were for impaired driving, out of a total of 77 for the infraction.
“We can all agree, impaired driving is bad, and we want to go and punish the people that are committing those offences,” the officer said. “It is encouraging to have so many calls made by the community as it shows residents are actively helping the police fight impaired driving.”
As for the number of recommended charges, it is “pretty standard,” Hemrich said, with a large portion of the files being traffic complaints, bylaw infractions and other minor incidents.
“It’s not saying we didn’t take any action on those files. It’s just that criminal charges wouldn’t be recommended in the majority of those files,” he explained.
The detachment receives more than 10,000 calls a year, and a fluctuation of up to 1,000 calls is not out of the norm.
Large events usually prompt more calls, and during a second year of the pandemic many events, such as the All Native Basketball Tournament, remained cancelled, Hemrich said. The decrease in call volume can likely be attributed to the multiple pandemic shutdowns throughout the year.
The implementation of the Wanted Wednesday program has added to their success this year with a tremendous public response. The initiative started in late October, and from that, the RCMP has been able to arrest four of the eight people with outstanding warrants.
“We’re at 50 per cent — that’s not bad when we release a picture of someone and information from the community [leads to an arrest],” Hemrich said, mentioning this shows citizens want to make Prince Rupert a better community.
He said another factor that should be noted, though not apparent in the raw data, the numbers highlight the diversity of issues the police force is dealing with.
“We have 358 mental-health-related files … that was more than one per day. So, we’re not only dealing with traffic or crimes, but we’re also going out to help people in mental health crises.”
The mental health team is a great resource with officers on the ground often the principal point of contact to check in on people to ensure health and wellbeing, he said
Overall, Hemrich said the numbers are a testament to how hard the force worked over the past year, with positive outcomes for many of those cases.
“With this many files and this many people in the city, it’s encouraging to see that they trust the police to help them when they’re in need. We appreciate that we’re being trusted.”
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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