Property crime, false alarms up for Battleford

By Angela Brown
January 23, 2019 - 11:36am

The Battlefords RCMP and the Battleford Fire Department gave an update on the latest stats for the Town of Battleford at council’s recent meeting, showing property crime and false alarms remain a concern.  

Crime numbers for Battleford suggest improvement in most categories, based on RCMP Sgt. Jason Teniuk’s report for the period October to December 2018. 

The fourth quarter results show an increase in property crime at 91 reports for 2018 compared to 66 for the same time last year. The report indicates the 2018 increase predominantly reflects a rise in mischief cases. The annual stats show property crime at 297, an increase compared to the prior year’s tall of 288.

Teniuk said mischief issues can bring numbers up quite a bit, such as a youth throwing eggs at vehicles in a neighbourhood.

He also reminded people to once again make sure their vehicles are secure as one way to ensure they are safe from thieves who venture out on “car shopping” trips after dark, stealing valuables from vehicles they can break into.

“Everybody is at risk of that,” Teniuk said. “I think it would be safe to say almost every night someone is going through vehicles or at least looking in vehicles to see what is able to be stolen. So the best policy is to lock your doors.”

Mayor Ames Leslie echoed Teniuk’s sentiments.

“With property offences, mischief or car shopping, as we become more diligent to make sure our sheds, garages, and cars, everything is locked down, (then) those mischief calls will go down,” Leslie said following the meeting. “I understand people are going to say: I shouldn’t have to lock my car or shed, but we don’t live in that world any more. If we take the steps to take away the opportunity for crime, then the crime will hopefully start to go away.”

Crimes against persons increased slightly for the fourth quarter at 25 reports compared to 24 for the same time last year. The annual numbers show an improvement however, with the 2018 total at 79 versus 107 in 2017.

Vehicle collisions increased slightly from October To December last year with seven reports compared to six the year prior. The 2018 year total showed 31 collisions, a jump by seven compared to 24 in 2017.

Residential break and enters saw a drop for the quarter, coming in with four reports, compared to eight for the same time last year. The 2018 annual tally shows a marked improvement with only 13 break and enters, less than half the total of 27 for 2017.

Business break and enters were on par with the year prior for the fourth quarter with one report each in 2018 and in 2017. The 2018 annual tally shows seven reports, a decrease from 10 in 2017.

Criminal code offences also declined, with 21 reported for the period, compared to 22 for the same time the year prior. The annual tally for 2018 showed 75 reports, a significant decrease compared to 2017 when the total was 114.

Drug related offences were also down compared to last year. The fourth quarter showed two reports compared to four last year. The annual tally for 2018 was 13, a drop from 16 reports from the year prior.

Impaired driving reports also went down, at three reports for the quarter in 2018 compared to seven for the year prior for the same period. For the 2018 total, the tally was 23 reports compared to 29 in 2017.

Liquor control act offences were also lower, with three reports last quarter, versus four for the same period in 2017. The annual total for 2018 was 12, compared to 14 for the year prior. 

Calls for assistance saw a decrease also, with 44 for the fourth quarter period, slightly less than 43 for the same time in 2017. The 2018 total tally saw a rise however, with 168 reports for the year, compared to 158 the year prior.

Provincial traffic offences also saw mixed results, with five reports for the period in 2018, a drop from 13 for the period the year prior. The annual tally for 2018 came in at 86, an increase from 79 for the 2017 total.   

Total call for 2018 was lower than the year prior, as a good sign, at 1,100, compared to a total of 1,132 in 2017.

Teniuk said while the total numbers may seem high they are not overly significant relative to the population size, compared to other locations in the area.

When looking at the three year period from 2016 to 2018, it shows property crime numbers remain the highest compared to other types of offences. It’s also notable that that the final tally is much higher in 2018 than in 2016 and 2017. For vehicle collisions, while the totals have increased somewhat since 2017, totals for the two past years (2018 and 2017) are much lower than in 2016, as a positive sign.   

When looking at the Battleford Fire Department stats, presented by Battleford Fire Chief Larry Gabruch, it appears false alarms remain a concern for the town.

For 2018, the fire department received 30 false alarm calls, on par with 2017. That’s an increase from 2016 when the total was 21. When looking back 10 years ago, the fire department received only four false alarm calls for service, in comparison, however the population has increased since that time. 

For some other categories, residential fires increased to seven in 2018, compared to three in 2017. The fire department also received more calls to assist in vehicle collisions at 12 reported in 2018, versus nine in 2017. For total overall responses for Battleford, the fire departments saw a total of 86 in 2018, compared to 64 in 2017.

For the R.M. of Battle River, the fire department responded to 130 calls in 2018, versus 104 in 2017.

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