Violent crime on rise here


Fort Frances OPP detachment commander Insp. John Kendrick delivered a police services activity report for the first quarter of 2010 to town council Tuesday night.
The first quarter of 2010 has shown a 15 percent increase in violent crime over last year, with the most common form being common assault.
The majority of these crimes remain alcohol-related.
The violent crime clearance rate was 87.2 percent, which remains above the national average of 72 percent, noted Insp. Kendrick.
He added some of the crimes remain under investigation, so that clearance rate is expected to rise over the next few months.
Meanwhile, property crimes, which have been on steady decline since 2003, also increased in the first quarter of 2010—40 percent over the same time period last year.
Minor thefts, including thefts from unlocked vehicles and unlocked bicycles, account for most of these crimes.
The clearance rate for property crimes in the first quarter of 2010 was 32.1 percent, which is higher than the national average of 22 percent.
The increases in violent crime and property crime should not cause alarm at this point, said Insp. Kendrick, noting unseasonably warm weather has resulted in many crimes that traditionally are associated with later in the year.
One benefit of the early spring weather was a 25 percent reduction in motor vehicle collisions in town compared to the first quarter of last year.
Insp. Kendrick also noted the Community Drug Action Team, which was formed last year, continues to see success by eliminating some of the suppliers of illegal drugs in the area.
There’s been a 350 percent increase in drug-related charges in the first quarter of this year compared to 2009.
Community support for D.A.R.E. and the P.A.R.T.Y. program continues to educate youths on making appropriate decisions related to drugs and alcohol, said Insp. Kendrick, while the Opiate Task Force continues to share information between agencies.
In the next few months, the OPP Community Policing Committee, in partnership with Safe Communities Rainy River District, plans to take more of a lead in addressing substance abuse in the community.