The officer cautions interpreting the below numbers as various columns could mislead any reader. Often, statistics are adjusted according to files and whether additional charges have been laid, stayed or police scoring has changed. It is safe to compare Life to Date columns (LTD) in 2018 to LTD columns at 2019 and Year to Date (YTD) columns in 2020.
Hurst explained in the 2018 column, YTD is lower than LTD because the retention period on some minor files is approximately two years and often those files have already been purged. Data shows a progressive decrease in three, four, or five years and the YTD number will continue to drop. The numbers indicate a significant increase in provincial traffic offences from 2018 to now.
“I would attribute [the increase] of provincial traffic offences to our Traffic Services Unit which is newer,” he said. “As you can see, provincial traffic offences have over-doubled and gone up over 100 per cent and that’s indicative of the Traffic Services Unit [patrolling traffic].”
Hurst also noted to proceed with caution when interpreting impaired driving statistics as the increase does not necessarily mean more of the public is driving while impaired. The increase could be attributed to either more impaired drivers on the road getting caught meaning more officers are regularly patrolling roadways
“Part of me would love to see that number low because that would mean we’re out there and there are less impaired drivers,” he said. “Are the less impaired driver’s out there because we’re not out [patrolling] or are proactive patrols leading us to decrease that number?“
Frauds also appear to be higher in the immediate community. Hurst noted those types are scams and are not necessarily conducted out of Meadow Lake. However, some people in the community may have fallen victim to a scam which has increased since 2019. Occasionally, frauds can include NSF cheques and false pretence is part of fraud that falls into romance scams where people are asked to give the scammer gift cards or prepaid merchandise.
“Sometimes those fraud investigations are specifically related to internet and phone scams that seem to be rampant here in the last five years,” he said.
The police committee and the city sit down quarterly where numbers are discussed and interpreted. Some of the statistics indicated are related to the resources Meadow Lake detachment currently has and the municipal contract existing with RCMP staffing. In those discussions, the possibility of allocating resources to the city will be addressed in the coming weeks.
“It’s indicative if you look at total [calls] associated to the city itself, [they] go from 4,953 [in 2018] up to 5,996 [this year] and while some of that is attributed to provincial traffic offences, we’re not slowing down,” he said.