High crime clearance rates locally
Fort Frances OPP had a significantly high clearance rate for solving crimes in 2011, ranking above both the national and provincial averages.
The local detachment had a 67.1 percent clearance rate last year, an average of an 89.1 percent clearance rate for violent crimes, and 26.12 percent clearance rate for property crime.
At this morning’s Police Services Board meeting, Insp. Steve Shouldice noted that while the clearance rates for property crime is low on the surface, he said those crimes are very difficult to solve without witnesses or because there’s not much evidence at a crime scene.
Violent crimes, on the other hand, are much easier to solve because the victims usually know the perpetrators.
“In my mind, something we do really well here is solving crimes,” Insp. Shouldice said.
Fort Frances Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft pointed out clearance rates were high across the region compared to the provincial and national averages.
Crime statistics for the months of June, July, and August show the OPP laid a total of 26 impaired driving charges in Rainy River District, with 11 of those being in Fort Frances.
Mayor Roy Avis said this number seemed high but Insp. Shouldice noted that while impaired driving is happening all the time, a spike in charges results when the OPP has the opportunity to increase its enforcement, such as during safety blitzes.
Insp. Shouldice added if the detachment had personnel available just to enforce impaired driving, police would charge one-five drivers every weekend.
Some of these impaired driving charges result from collisions, the observations of officers, or the public calling police to report someone drinking and driving.
Conversely, the R.I.D.E. program is more effective to raise awareness of the issue rather than serving as an enforcement tool.
Insp. Shouldice also noted this morning that there’s been a lower-than-average number of bear incidents reported in town so far this year, adding the same is true in Atikokan.
While there definitely are bears at the local landfill, there’s been few reports by residents.
PSB member Glenn Witherspoon said he’s heard complaints from north-end
residents, who have seen bears come for their apple trees.
But he added it seems the bears have been content to come and go, and not stick around to be a nuisance.
In other news, Insp. Shouldice will be attending the OPP North West Region’s annual awards ceremony in Thunder Bay on Tuesday.
Four individuals from Rainy River District are to receive awards, but are not personally attending the ceremony.
Insp. Shouldice will represent the detachment and receive the awards on their behalf.