Crime stats not the whole picture: P.A. Police Chief

By Chelsea Laskowski
January 16, 2015 - 6:42am

The 11th piece of a 12-piece puzzle leaves it looking like crime in Prince Albert is on the rise in a serious way, but that isn’t the full picture according to the city’s police chief.

Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) released its November 2014 crime statistics this week, with a 14.2 per cent rise in overall incidents for the year-to-date compared to 2013.

These numbers stand out particularly in the categories of assault, other crimes against person, break and enters, weapon charges, and federal statute violations.  Federal statute violations include drug offences and those that fall under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The heftiest bump in the 11 months leading up to December in 2014 over the same period in 2013 is the provincial statute violations. These include road violations under traffic acts, driving without due care and attention, driving while disqualified, and liquor laws.

The federal statute violations are the second-highest increase, sitting at 30.2 per cent.

Crime against person come in as a close third, as Prince Albert reported 29.3 per cent more.

Why the jump?

PAPS Chief Troy Cooper knew before these statistics came out that they’d look negative. In December, he stated police reported 23 per cent more domestic violence cases than in years past despite receiving the same number of calls.

“We’ve asked our officers to spend more time, apply more resources and do more reporting. The data we collect is shared with other social services agencies where appropriate to hopefully take the victims of domestic violence and get them into the services they need,” he told paNOW at the time.

He reiterated that in a written statement responding to the most recent statistics.

“One of the reasons that these statistics are showing such an increase is because we have asked our members to focus more and spend more time on our domestic violence response. As a result, more fully detailed reports are being completed,” Cooper wrote.

He said more a boost in supervision during patrol shifts also led to more detailed reporting in 2014. More details on their reporting methods will come out in PAPS year-end statistics within the next few weeks.

Domestic, family violence not just a P.A. problem

Statistics Canada released some national numbers relating to family violence in 2013 that highlighted Saskatchewan and Manitoba as troubled locations. 

Saskatchewan had by far the highest rates of family violence, with 489.4 people in every 100,000 affected. Manitoba, in second, recorded 375.8 in every 100,000.

The most common kind of victimization for nearly 88,000 people hurt by family violence is spousal.

Rates of police-reported family-related sexual assault are also problematic in Saskatchewan.

Most provinces reported a drop, but Saskatchewan saw in increase of six per cent.

One-quarter of all violent crimes reported to police are domestic in nature, Statistics Canada reports.

-With files from Thia James and The Canadian Press

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On Twitter: @chelsealaskowsk

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