Innovative approaches reduce crime

“We have honed in on chronic offenders, causing them to leave town for greener pastures.”

Innovative approaches reduce crime

Kitimat RCMP credits the detachment’s innovative approach to fighting crime for the eight per cent drop in crime in 2016.

One of those approaches involves stepping up checks on known offenders, some of whom choose to rather leave Kitimat to avoid the unwanted attention.

“We have honed in on chronic offenders, causing them to leave town for greener pastures,” said RCMP Media Relations Officer Const. Rebekah Draht. “We do this by ensuring we are doing simple things like curfew checks.”

Stats released by the federal government at the end of July saw Kitimat’s crime stats drop from 771 incidents in 2015, to 690 in 2016.

At the same time, Terrace saw an increase in crime of 7.46 per cent, while Prince Rupert saw a 9.68 per cent decrease.

Draht said their innovative approach also consisted of working together with other Kitimat agencies, like Tamitik Status of Women and the Kitimat Child Development Centre, to help with vulnerable individuals who have frequent dealings with the RCMP.

“We have worked with the agencies to help transition these individuals into society with dignity and respect. Through our efforts with other agencies we have successfully lowered file counts and contacts with police,” said Draht.

One case in particular involved an individual who the RCMP saw 17 times between April 1 and June 30 in 2016.

She said the RCMP and the other agencies they work with provided the individual with access to support networks and resources.

“For the same period this year, from April 1 to June 30, we only had one contact with that individual. By thinking outside the box, working with other agencies, and trying to change negative interactions into positive ones, we have seen a huge decline in reported crimes,” said Draht.

She said the other aspect that Kitimat RCMP focuses on to reduce crime is finding alternate ways of dealing with frequent offenders, including offering to help them with problems they may have at home.

“Instead of making everything a negative interaction, we have attempted to try to build a relationship with them in order to stop future dealings,” said Draht.

“A great example of this is restorative justice, something we are using to come up with different solutions other than the court systems.”

She said a recent example of restorative justice involved two young offenders writing a letter of apology and delivering it directly to the victim and apologizing face-to-face.

“This was very powerful and allowed the two youths to realize who they had hurt and take accountability for it,” added Draht.

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