Port Hardy RCMP Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen delivered his last quarterly report of the summer to council last Tuesday, and some of the numbers released might surprise you.
Intoxication in public dropped from 102 last quarter to 88, which is a good sign because “There generally is a noticeable increase during the summer months due to the nicer weather,” said Olsen. “However, we have not seen a big increase this summer.”
Olsen confirmed that even though the number of people intoxicated in public went down from the last quarter, “Public drunkenness does remain a problem in Port Hardy and the detachment is trying a number of pro-active measures to try and address this issue. I can comment on that more later on as I won’t know the effectiveness of our efforts until the end of the year.”
Theft from vehicles has also dropped from 40 last quarter to only nine this quarter, which Olsen attributed to a variety of different measures the RCMP have taken to combat the issue.
“I would surmise that this is a result of assistance from the media through reporting the matter, the public taking the appropriate steps/measures to mitigate the problem (locking their vehicles and not leaving any valuables inside) and an increase in pro-active police actions (late evening patrols and street checks).”
Regarding street checks, the RCMP performed 46 of them this quarter, which Olsen says “are helpful in a number of ways,” explaining that street checks are when “police stop and question people who are out walking around late at night to determine who they are, what they are up to, as well as to check on their well-being.”
“We have a lot of youth who get reported missing that we actively go out and look for,” Olsen stated, adding “We also may be actively investigating a complaint and are looking for a specific person. Because of low light conditions at night, we can not readily identify a person from just driving by, so we will stop and talk with them. For those people who are not doing anything wrong, we find they are thankful that police are out and about and are checking in on their well-being. For others who are not always happy to see or talk to us, street checks are a way of letting them know we are patrolling and will be checking on people we see out walking around at late hours.”
Olsen also confirmed the five impaired driving files opened this quarter were “all alcohol related.”
All told, Olsen said the biggest challenge the Port Hardy RCMP faced this quarter was “resourcing and dealing with the major detachment renovations, which are coming along and will hopefully be finished by mid-November.”
He added that due to the wildfire situation in the interior, and also the detachment awaiting new members to transfer in to replace those who had since departed, “we were stretched thin. We pitched in to deploy some members to assist in the interior, despite being short-handed due to the transfers.”
Even with the Port Hardy RCMP being short-staffed, “we managed to maintain our daily shift minimums, with the community receiving the same level of policing they have become accustomed to,” said Olsen. “The community would not have noticed any difference in the level of policing being provided.”
Olsen was quick to reply the RCMP’s biggest success this quarter was “maintaining a professional level of policing during the busy summer months while being short of resources.”
He added he was quite proud the detachment “continued to provide the community a quality police service, which was reflected in a decrease of complaints/statistics in a number of areas. The remaining members deserve all the credit as they worked hard during this period of transition.”