Crime rates take dip

Brockville is following a national trend of declining occurrences of major crime, with all major crime categories decreasing here in 2013 compared with 2012.

That trend is on par with crime rates across Canada, which saw its crime rate severity index drop by nine per cent last year compared with 2012. The report, released by Statistics Canada, showed there were 1.8 million crimes reported in 2013, down 132,000 in 2012.

Out of municipalities with a population of 10,000 or more people, Brockville ranks 102 of 304 in overall crime severity.

Brockville Police Service deputy chief Lee MacArthur said the decrease in crime rates is not surprising.

“It’s been a trend that’s been happening for years now and it’s not unusual for us that serious crime has gone down,” MacArthur said.

The police service tracks its crime rates and presents those on a monthly basis to the police services board. The month-over-month analysis has shown crime rates are trending down.

In 2013, robbery, sexual assaults, arson, breaking and entering and mischief in Brockville had all decreased when compared with rates in 2012. Breaking and entering and robbery were two crimes that experienced the biggest declines nationwide.

Nationally, the rate of violent crimes fell 10 per cent in 2013 compared with 2012, marking the seventh consecutive decrease. Canadian police services reported about 384,000 violent incidents in 2013, down about 32,000 from the previous year.

There were 505 homicides in 2013, down 38 from 2012. The homicide rate was 1.44 victims per 100,000 population, the lowest rate in almost 50 years. Police also reported 642 attempted murders in 2013, a drop of 23 from 2012.

Brockville mayor David Henderson said he was not surprised to see the city continue with a decrease in crime.

“Brockville always has been and always will be a safe community,” he said.

“It’s a very safe community and a very community-oriented community. People tend to know each other here.”

Although rates for violent crimes and calls for service in Brockville were down in 2013, MacArthur said it does not mean officers are doing less work.

“We’re spending a lot more time on things that won’t have a resulting charge at the end of the day,” he said.

“It’s those noise calls and complaints of drinking and things like that. Those aren’t making it to the criminal side, whereas we could end up giving a provincial (ticket), which is reflected in our stats but not in the criminal side of things.”

MacArthur said he believes proactive programming and community partnerships contribute to the declining crime rate.

Brockville has been part of the Safe Communities movement for a number of years and was one of the first in Canada to gain the World Health Organization designation, MacArthur noted.

“I think locally for us, that’s one of those proactive programs that brings all the partners together,” he said.

“With the reflection of less serious criminal offences, hopefully it’s gone ahead and helped by having a group like that together.”

As well, the police regularly strike partnerships with the community, including a recent move to have a volunteer unit.

-With files from QMI Agency

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