Crime stats are down in 2015 in the area, according to the Chatham-Kent Police Service annual report presented to the Police Services Board at its recent meeting.
Chief Gary Conn pointed board members to the Crime Snapshot page, which shows a comparison of crime numbers between 2014 and 2015. In 15 crime categories, only four went up, with the rest going down in areas such as assaults, abductions, break and enters, drugs, fraud, missing persons, mischief, robberies, thefts and weapons offences.
“We put forward initiatives that are showing results,” Conn said. “For instance, with break and enters, we’ve really targeted chronic repeat offenders and targeting these criminals has had a positive effect on our stats.”
He also said that other initiatives that involve the public in our community, with an emphasis on community policing and a proactive approach have helped reduce the incidents of crime in the area.
“Our Community Mobilization Unit does a great job of disseminating information,” Conn noted. “That has gone a long way to reducing crime in our community.”
Also helping is making use of technology such as Facebook and social media sites to ask for the public’s help in identifying a suspect from surveillance footage, a fact which communications officer Const. Renee Cowell confirmed.
“We get great results almost instantly. Social media is fantastic for getting the public’s help,” Cowell said. “We can put out info in the morning and sometimes by noon we have the people identified and located.”
Cowell said observant citizens have been a big help in reporting crime and identifying suspects. Having officers engaged in the community and “having the public on our side and them not being afraid to call police,” helps reduce crime.
The four areas that showed increases in 2015 over 2014 were arsons, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults and stolen vehicles. With the stolen vehicles (up 52%), Conn said a crime ring in Wallaceburg targeting trucks last year is mostly responsible for the increase in stolen vehicle reports.
One area of note that went down in the annual report was traffic stats, Conn said. In 2015, there were no alcohol-related fatalities or serious injury reports, compared to three fatalities and two injuries in 2014.