Port Hardy’s top cop was back in action at the municipal hall.
Acting detachment commander, Corp. Martin Giguère, met with council on May 25 at a committee of the whole meeting to discuss the district’s 2021 first quarter crime statistics (January to March).
“Thanks for having me,” opened Giguère, who then said there has been a slight increase in calls this quarter, “but less crime against person.”
The last time Giguère was in attendance at a council meeting, Coun. Pat Corbett-Labatt had asked him about the number of instances of domestic violence in Port Hardy, which has caused the RCMP to start releasing domestic violence statistics in their quarterly reports.
“For the first quarter we had 927 calls for service, and 112 of these were disturbances primarily involving alcohol,” said Giguère, who noted there were also 37 assaults overall, with nine of them being domestic violence.
He added there was also a number of false alarms (25 in total), which were primarily fire alarms being pulled at Highland Manor when there wasn’t actually any fires.
Basically, the first quarter numbers are “in line with the last quarter of the last year,” confirmed Giguère.
He then asked if council had any questions.
Mayor Dennis Dugas spoke up first, asking Giguère if he thinks COVID-19 has caused higher instances of domestic violence.
Giguère said he thinks COVID-19 has created cabin fever for a lot of people and it’s been challenging for families, especially if family members have been laid off. He added that due to COVID-19 restrictions stopping indoor gatherings, people have been going outside and drinking all day long, “and that’s why we have this huge spike in disturbances and alcohol related calls this quarter.”
Dugas then asked about the amount of impaired driving files being opened, pointing out specifically that the numbers have continued to go up from 2018 to 2020.
“Does that mean you were doing more checks?” asked Dugas.
Giguère confirmed they have in fact been doing more road checks, and that the RCMP have made it a real priority to catch more of the impaired drivers who are out using the North Island roads.
“We’re heading in the same direction for this year,” he stated, “with the first quarter already having nine [impaired driving files opened].”
Coun. Fred Robertson asked about the notorious apartment building Highland Manor. He said he’s been shown statistics that say there has been around 70 calls about the building to RCMP since February.
“From a policing perspective… what are some solutions you see to it?” he asked.
Giguère said he has been in contact with the building’s owners, and they were working on a project to target some of the people who live there that are part of the problem. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 and RCMP staffing issues, the project hasn’t been able to get off the ground.
“We are aware of the problem,” added Giguère. “We target the individuals in other ways, but it’s definitely not having an impact as fast as everybody would hope… it’s definitely an eyesore and a problem for everybody in the area.”
Corbett-Labatt thanked Giguère for adding the domestic violence statistics into the rotation of information that council receives. She then asked about the RCMP’s involvement with the managed alcohol program.
“We’re mainly in a support role at this point,” said Giguère, noting RCMP members are in touch with First Nations health providers and are willing to help in any way they can.
Corbett-Labatt also asked if the RCMP has had to deal with any sexual exploitation of youth issues in the community.
Giguère said they had one young woman in town that the RCMP found out had ties to a Nanaimo exploitation ring, but the Nanaimo RCMP were the one’s dealing with it “and that’s the extent I know about that.”
There were no more questions after that. Dugas thanked Giguère for all of his efforts in policing the North Island communities.
Files opened by the Port Hardy RCMP in the first quarter of 2021 (January–March)
Total files opened: 927
Common / Trespassing – 37;
Assault w/ Weapon or CBH – 3;
Aggravated – o;
Criminal Harassment – 2;
Utter Threats Against Person – 19;
Sexual Assault – 9;
Sex Assault w/Weapon or CBH – 0;
Sexual Interference – 1;
Aggravated sexual assault – 0;
Sexual Exploitation – 0;
Intoxicated in Public – 52;
Liquor Violation Tickets Issued – 0;
Breach of Peace – 48;
Secondary Involving Alcohol – 33;
Cause Disturbance – 112;
Secondary Involving Alcohol – 90;
Mischief under $5,000 – 22;
Mischief over $5,000 – 1;
Loss Enjoyment of Property – 21;
Breach of Probation (Adult) – 12;
Breach of Probation (Youth) – 0;
Bail Violations – 17;
By-Law Noise – 34;
False / Abandoned 9-1-1 – 30;
Break & Enter Business – 0;
Break & Enter Residence – 6;
Theft from motor vehicle less than $5,000 – 7;
Theft from motor vehicle more than $5,000 – 0;
Shoplifting Under $5,000 – 4;
Missing Persons – 7;
Missing Persons High Risk – 3;
Unspecified Assistance – 71;
False Alarm – 25;
Mental Health Act – 34;
Suicidal – 12;
Cocaine Trafficking – 1;
Cocaine Possession – 0;
Cannabis Possession – 0;
Cannabis Trafficking – 0;
Impaired driving – 9;
Charge Recommended – 1;
Charged – 3;
Unfounded / Unsubstantiated – 5;
IRP — 24 Hour – 0;
IRP — 3 Day – 3;
IRP — 7 Day – 0;
IRP — 30 Day – 0;
IRP — 90 Day – 4;
Violation Tickets (Moving) – 14;
Violation Tickets (Non-Moving) – 0;
Traffic Notice Written Warnings – 2;
Motor Vehicle Incident Fatal – 0;
Motor Vehicle Incident Injury – 2;
Motor Vehicle Incident Over $1,000 – 0;
Street Checks – 0;
Prisoners held – 89;
JJP Hearings – 17; and
Detentions from JJP Hearings – 2.