Thursday, 22 June 2017 04:17

Swift Current RCMP laid more charges this year than past three years

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There has been an increase in the number of charges laid by the Swift Current RCMP during the first five months of the year over the past three years.


This detail was provided during the presentation of the community policing report by Staff Sgt. Gary Hodges and Sgt. Kelly Guider at a regular City council meeting, June 19.
Sgt. Guider noted there were no significant changes to the number of offences reported or committed in the community for the year to date.
There were a total of 422 offences reported or committed in May 2017 in comparison to 401 in May 2016 and 371 in May 2015.
For the first five months of 2017, there were a total of 1,994 offences reported or committed. For the same time period in 2016, there were 1,797 total occurrences and in 2015 there was a total of 1,673 occurrences during the first five months.
“It looks like our crime stats continueto grow at about the same rate,” he said. “I wanted to look a little deeper though. I’m in my third year here in the community and to me it just feels a little different than perhaps the yearwhen we first moved here.”
Sgt. Guider did a charge analysis for the first five months of the year for the period 2015 to 2017.
For the first five months in 2015, there were 406 charges laid in the city. Those charges were laid under provincial acts and federal acts. It included charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, youth charges, criminal code and traffic charges.
For the same period in 2016 the number of charges was 464 and then this year to date the number of charges was 552.
“To me that feels a little bit more relevant,” he said.
He noted that the hardworking members of the Swift Current RCMP detachment had been very successful, and that is reflected in the number of charges laid. He felt there had been some changes to the type of offences seen in the community.
“We’ve seen some crime that we haven’t seen in the city before,” he said.
One of those unusual crime incidents happened in the early morning hours on June 19, when three people used a vehicle to gain access to the Swift Current Mall and to a jewelry business.
“They drove through the mall and actually have the vehicle struck the guard gates at People’s Jewelers,” he said. “Well, that’s a new one for me.”
The RCMP found the stolen truck later that same day in the city, and their investigation continues.
Sgt. Guider referred to two recent incidents in the city that were investigated by officers and arrests were made shortly afterwards. In the early morning hours on June 13 there were several incidents of break and enter at businesses in Swift Current and Herbert. The police immediately identified a few suspects and three people were arrested in Swift Current and Waldeck.
“We took three people into custody within 24 hours of those break and enters, and got enough evidence basically to proceed with prosecution,” he said. “The prosecutors here are already looking at possible sentence options, which mean it’s probably not going to be a long lasting trial. We have the right people in custody and they’re going to be facing jail time for their offences.”
Another unusual case occurred in Swift Current on May 2, when officers investigated a case of kidnapping and extortion and arrests were made within hours.
“Again that was a little bit new for us and the officers worked very diligently,” he said.
Three people were arrested on Central Avenue in Swift Current and they are facing multiple charges of kidnapping, extortion and robbery.
“Two of them were not Swift Current residents,” he said. “They came here and committed these crimes against people in the community. That was within hours of the crimes that we had them in custody and right now they remain in custody.”
The RCMP in Swift Current already had six positive search warrants during the year to date, which is an indication of their success. There was no positive search warrant for the same time period in 2016 and only one in 2015. A positive search warrant means that evidence was obtained and charges were laid after the police obtained a search warrant for a vehicle or a residence.
Sgt. Guider also spoke about the growing popularity of youth detoxification warrants in the city.
During the past five months there were six such warrants issued.
“We’ve seen a spike in the amount of families and loved ones who are going to court and getting a warrant that authorizes the arrest and detention of their child, of their youth because of their addiction,” he said. “When that happens, an officer receives a warrant, we go out as a team and we try to locate this youth, we take them into our custody, we detain them, and we get them to the hospital.”
There is a screening process at the hospital that takes several hours.
It involves blood and urine tests, they youth will meet with a doctor and admitting doctor for the detoxification centre in Regina will be contacted.
“If the criteria is met, that child then is taken into our custody and driven to Regina where they will be kept at the detox centre for up to 15 days,” he said.
He described the increase in the number of youth detoxification warrants in Swift Current as a positive development, because it is a recognition that someone is struggling with addictions and that steps are taken to assist that person.
“This really big spike in the use of this detox warrant might be more reflective of the community’s strength,” he said. “I think we’re having some success with that. So I don’t want to bring that number up as a big negative. I think it’s a little bit of a positive that’s hidden in there.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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