By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
An RCMP sergeant was on hand last week at Coalhurst council to discuss calls in town.
During their regular July 18 meeting, Coalhurst town council received the RCMP update for the first six months of 2023. The stats provided were for calls within the Town of Coalhurst only, and did not include any calls from outside the town’s boundaries.
“This is a true snapshot of the calls we responded to in the town of Coalhurst,” said Sgt. Mike Numan of the RCMP.
Between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year, there were 435 calls reported within the town. Of those calls, 25 were determined to be unfounded, and in terms of clearance, charges were laid in 59 calls and 38 were otherwise cleared, for a clearance rate of 23.7 per cent.
For traffic offences, there were 33 calls for service, which include 11 traffic collisions, with nine reportable and two non-reportable, less than $2,000 in damage. This also includes four other moving traffic violations, 10 other non-moving traffic violations and two driving while disqualified/license suspension violations.
“Bear in mind, most of these calls are not criminal in nature, they’re more either provincial, traffic collisions, those types of things,” said Numan.
For provincial statutes, excluding traffic, there were 48 calls, including an unfounded 9-1-1 Act call, three Trespass Act, 10 Mental Health Act – other activities and 19 9-1-1 Act – other activities.
Numan said that a trend after COVID was an increase in responding to those calls for service “in all our detachment areas for sure”.
9-1-1 Act calls are also an issue.
“A lot of those are calls are false, pocket dials. For some reason, this area… more so east of us, but a lot of people would put the phone in their pocket and call,” said Numan. “It takes away from our day of dealing with the serious crimes, so we’re asking people to try and pay attention to where their phone is and not make those 9-1-1 calls.”
There were three Provincial Statutes – Municipal bylaw violations, three Firearms Act, one Other Federal Statutes (not otherwise specified) – Other Activities, 20 Other Criminal Code violations, two Criminal Code – Corruption, 10 National Survey Codes, one Family Orders & Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act – Other Activities, one Drug Enforcement – trafficking, three Sexual Assault investigations, 16 – Robbery/Extortion/Harassment/Threats calls, one Mischief – causing danger to life, and 30 Assault calls.
For property crimes, there were 90 calls, including 23 thefts under $5,000, six possession of stolen goods, four break and enters and 35 relating to mischief, including 24 obstruct enjoyment of property.
“It’s really the Criminal Code’s way of capturing everything that doesn’t apply to another category,” said Numan in response to a question of what the latter meant. “It’s either damage to property or you were being obstructed from enjoying your property.”
There were also 33 calls to assist the public and 54 related police activities, including four abandoned vehicles and 25 suspicious person/vehicle/property calls.
Numan noted that there have been some things that had happened in Coalhurst that are “alarming” to those living in town. While he understood those concerns, he believed that as an organization, the RCMP does “a very good job, if we know about it”, citing charges to a recent incident at the town’s spray park.
“The problem I think if we maybe need to maybe get some community involvement and a crime watch, some sort of a group to help be the eyes and ears, and also to encourage people to call in whenever there’s crimes or things going on,” said Numan. “If we don’t know about it, we can’t respond.”
“We can’t police by Facebook, we would never get ahead, so it has to be an actual call for service.”
Numan acknowledged that there can be frustration when there isn’t enough evidence to lay charges or their members are out on another call, but stressed that in order to do something, they need to know about it.
While people are asked not to call 9-1-1 unless there is an emergency, Numan said there is an online reporting tool people can also access. The complaint line is 403-345-5000 for non-emergency calls.
Council passed a motion to accept the report for information.