More spare time gives Kitimat officers chance to crack down on drugs

Drug files rose in 2014 over 2013, but officer time to dedicate to those files reason for rise, says detachment, not more drug.

It’s been a mixed bag of local crime over the year, where there’s been a dip in some but notable increases in some.

One area that’s seeing growth: possession of cocaine.

Staff Sergeant Phil Harrison presented council with the  December statistics, which also reveal how the year compared with 2013, and drug files were on the rise.

Cocaine saw seven more files in 2014 than it did in 2013. There were two extra cases of trafficking cocaine over 2013 as well, nine in 2014.

Marijuana possessions were also on the rise, although only marginally, with two more cases, 36, in 2014 than in 2013.

While there was no ecstasy possessions in December, the year did close with two files for 2014. There were none in 2013.

Even with those statistics and a few others up, the Kitimat detachment’s staff sergeant, Phil Harrison, isn’t suggesting there’s a drug trade on the rise in Kitimat.

In fact the truth is rather more optimistic than the numbers may explain.

“When they [officers] don’t have to burden themselves with carrying out investigations they’ve more free time so they can do those kinds of things,” he said, referring to a drop in police calls that require dedicated investigations.

“As calls requiring investigation decline, it leaves more time for members to increase patrols and self generate files such as traffic and drugs,” Harrison explained via e-mail. “Also, as members gain experience, they also gain a confidence to generate those types of files. Two years ago we had seven members transfer out and were replaced mainly with recruits straight from Depot. Those members are now more experienced and it is showing in the increased liquor, drugs and traffic stats.”

Harrison also says a number of experienced members had transferred to the detachment in recent time which may also contribute to the increased in drug statistics.

There were a few other file increases in 2014 too.

Shoplifting perhaps saw the most dramatic rise, finishing 2014 with 19 files, against just six in 2013.

From that 19, four were food-related items, and five were to do with liquor. The remaining files were a mish-mash of various products.

Harrison said for the most part the shoplifting files are all being done by the same people, a group of about four or five people.

“The same three or four [people], and they’re people from in town,” he said.

Sexual assaults were up to 18, more than the 14 from 2013. Harrison explained in his presentation to council that investigations resulted in 11 of those cases being unsubstantiated.

For thefts over $5,000, there were four for the year, however two files involved relatives while another involved a landlord dispute.

For files that have dropped, there were 10 fewer threats against people this year, at 86 for the year. Common assaults are also down, to 185 from 220.

Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm also went down, to 26 from 34 the year prior.

Business break and enters were down, 11 files in 2014, and residential break ins dropped to from 45 to 31.