NEWS

Christmas Mini Banner Saugeen Shores

middle-header-news2

crime 560Hub Staff

Although overall crime is down in Saugeen Shores from 2015 to 2016, it still made the list on Maclean’s “Canada’s most dangerous places 2018” published in November, 2017. The list placed Saugeen Shores 140th out of 229 Canadian centres. From 2015 to 2016 the Crime Severity Index (CSI) fell more than 10 points from 63.49 to 52.93.

The data indicated that Sexual Assault, Firearm offences, Break and Enters, Impaired Driving, and Cannabis trafficking or production were down from previous figures while Cocaine trafficking, Fraud, Robbery, and Assaults had risen. When it came to offences under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, when compared to the national average of 16.74, Saugeen Shores was not far behind at a CSI of 15.06, also higher than previous figures.

When looking at how Saugeen Shores compared to other centres in the region, Owen Sound (73 CSI) and West Grey (55 CSI) placed higher at 94th and 131st respectively; while Collingwood placed 167th with a CSI of 44, South Bruce (Kincardine) placed 177th with a CSI of 42, and Grey County (Georgian Bluffs) landed near the bottom of the list at 210 and had a CSI of 30.

At a CSI of 52.93, Saugeen Shores is well below the national average of 70.96. When isolating violent crimes, the ranking showed an even wider spread with Saugeen Shores at an Index of 44 against a national average of 75.25, placing it 147th out of the total 229.

Police Services Board Chair, Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau said he sees numbers that reflect safety. “Saugeen Shores is a safe community. I think people feel safe living here and I think that these statistics bear that out, that compared to the rest of the nation we’re a safe community to live in.”

Newly appointed Saugeen Shores Police Chief Mike Bellai said that the 2016 CSI is a “good news story,” while admitting that measuring Saugeen Shores against inland areas may skew the findings as Saugeen Shores grows substantially in the summer months.

“We’re still below the national average which is a good thing,” said Bellai, adding that when you increase enforcement on drugs, you’ll see an increase in reported crime. “The numbers are skewed,” he explained.

In reference to the spike in youth crimes, the police chief said that he is putting together programs that could potentially keep that number from rising, including the placement of Saugeen Shores officers at the high school on a part time basis as a way to “break down some barriers.”

When asked about what could have caused a rise in youth offences in 2016 Chief Bellai said, “Occurrences could be anything, but to say that our youth are involved in violent crimes or anything like that I think that that would be inaccurate.” He added that since coming to Saugeen Shores in December he has not seen a report regarding dangerous drugs at Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS). “But again through our high school resource officers what we want to do is get the message out there about the drugs, especially Opioids and that type of thing, and there has to be education and awareness, it’s not always about enforcement,” he said.

Charbonneau said the biggest issue as far as he was concerned was drugs. According to data in 2016 there were 48 incidents of Assault (with a CSI of 361.47, lower than the national average of 430.68) and 52 Break and Enters (with a CSI of 396.1, lower than the national average of 438.51), with Controlled drugs trafficking or production rates (not including cannabis and cocaine) exceeding the national average of 23.41 landing at 30.12.

“I’d hate to draw a direct correlation on these statistics but I would say that we do know that drug crime leads to other crimes,” said Charbonneau. “When you have drug activity, the sale of illegal drugs in your community, it leads to crimes like Break and Enters and things like that, and that’s why Chief Bellai and the Police Service are taking such an aggressive approach to drugs and putting out that problem as aggressively as we can,” he said, adding, “We need to do work on that.”

The rate of reported Fraud in Saugeen Shores was on the rise but again was well below the national average, which sat at 299.05 in 2016 compared to 143.08 in Saugeen Shores. Although the number indicated an increase, Chief Bellai said that the community had gotten wise to frauds and were reporting them to police at a higher rate which resulted in the increase, again referring to the numbers as “skewed.”

The message of “Arrive Alive, Drive Sober”, was not heeded by at least 23 individuals in 2016, and with the upcoming legalization of cannabis in 2018, Saugeen Shores Police Service is ready to spot drivers under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol. “We’re getting ready for that,” said the police chief. “Like every municipality and every police service in Ontario,” he added.

“We have a Drug Recognition Officer here, we’re looking at educating another Drug Recognition Officer so that when we do get cases that look like it’s impaired by drug and not alcohol,” he said.

news-top

CareyOptical final