The total calls for service for Grand Forks RCMP in the region have increased by nine per cent for the first quarter of 2017 compared to 2016, while mental health-related calls rose in Grand Forks rose by 25 per cent.
Total calls for service in Grand Forks for the first quarter of 2017 have increased by 12 per cent — from 377 to 426 calls — rising as well in Christina Lake but by 28 per cent — from 44 to 61.
In the rural Grand Forks area calls for service for the RCMP dropped from 116 to 106, according to the quarterly RCMP statistics report for the period of January to March.
Mental health-related calls rose in Grand Forks by 25 per cent — from 22 to 29 — for the first quarter of the year, and went from 29 to 39 for the overall region.
Break-and-enter calls dropped from five to three, while total person/violent charges under the Criminal Code dropped from 23 to 14. The total charges under the Criminal Code for property cases rose from 36 to 54 for the first quarter.
The total Criminal Code offences for the quarter in Grand Forks went from 96 last year to 103 for the same period in 2017, while they also rose in Christina Lake, from six to eight. In rural Grand Forks the Criminal Code cases remained the same at 14 for 2016 and 2017, said RCMP Sgt. Jim Fenske in his report to council.
Overall crime rates have not gone up much in the city and area, noted Coun. Julia Butler, but when the incidences involving alcohol and drugs, mental health related calls and drug investigations are looked at, the statistics are disturbing.
“And, with everything we have been hearing … and what is going on in the community, it just really hits home for us how important the homelessness situation is, and the housing situation is in our town,” she said. “It might cost us a little bit of money in the short term to provide land, or to provide staff resources to help the other organizations deal with this issue, but it’s not an issue that is just going to go away.
“We can’t just expect the RCMP to arrest someone and then they are out again. It’s just upsetting how many incidences they have to deal with. This is something that really needs to be on our radar.”
Motor vehicle collisions in Grand Forks have dropped from 14 to seven, while impaired driving MVA's have also dropped from 11 to two. Collisions in the rural areas dropped from 16 to 11, while it remained the same in Christina Lake at five.
Impaired driving MVA's for the overall region dropped from 12 to four.
Files involving alcohol and drugs were down significantly, dropping from 46 in 2016 to only 17 for the same period in 2017 for Grand Forks, and were down in the region overall, from 55 to 25 in 2017.