Drug charges up here in 2007: OPP

With an greater focus on drug enforcement in Fort Frances, local OPP officers laid 61 percent more drug-related charges in 2007 than the year before.
“There’s really no evidence for me to say that the drug issues have increased in the last few years, it’s just that we’ve dedicated more resources to that issue,” OPP detachment commander Insp. Dave Lucas told council Monday night.
“It was identified as an issue in the community in 2006 and in 2007, so we concentrated more on those issues. Hence, more enforcement was done,” he explained.
Insp. Lucas noted the OPP has found one of the most abused drugs in town is the prescription drug Oxycontin.
“We’ve laid several charges and made seizures in 2007 for that drug, as well as in 2008 already,” he said, adding marijuana and cocaine also are common drugs here.
When asked if he’s aware of any crystal meth production here, Insp. Lucas replied that police have made “the odd seizure” but there’s been no indication the drug is being made here.
“In the past few years, we’ve done numerous educational initiatives about that in the schools and in the community, and hopefully, that’s paid off,” he remarked.
While a total of 39 drug-related occurrences were reported last year (the same number as in 2006), 48 charges were laid in 2007, compared to just 19 in 2006.
The clearance rate for drug crime in 2007 was 74.4 percent—up from 66.7 percent in 2006.
Other general observations made by Insp. Lucas about policing in 2007 include:
•assaults up 30 percent;
•break and enter down 52 percent;
•theft under $5,000 down 17 percent;
•property crime clearance rates up 10 percent; and
•traffic charges down 12 percent.
As well, there’s been substantiated public complaints against the local OPP detachment.
There was a total of 4,122 reported occurrences in 2007, up from 3,898 in 2006. While there were no murders here, there were 10 reported sexual assaults, up from seven in 2006.
Three robberies were reported, compared to four in 2006. A total of 41 assaults were reported, compared to 100 in 2006.
There were 63 break and enters—way down from 130 in 2006.
Meanwhile, there were nine auto thefts (the exact same number as in 2006 and 2005).
There was three thefts over $5,000, compared to two reported last year. And there was 168 thefts under $5,000 reported in 2007, down from 201 in 2006.
A total of 134 incidents of mischief were reported last year, slightly up from 124 in 2006.
A total of 581 charges under the Criminal Code of Canada were laid in 2007, compared to 373 the year before.
(This difference can be accounted for a change in reporting charges. Starting in 2007, multiple Criminal Code charges per incident were individually counted).
Four hundred and fifty charges were laid under the Highway Traffic Act, down from 510 in 2006, while 161 charges were laid under the Liquor Licence Act, down from 222 in 2006.
Twenty-three miscellaneous provincial offence charges were laid in 2007, up from 18 the year before. And 21 Compulsory Auto Insurance Act charges were laid last year, down from 22 in 2006.
There was a total of 219 auto collisions in 2007, up from 164 in 2006.
Carrying on a positive trend, there were no fatal collisions in 2007. But there were 24 accidents causing personal injury, up from 18 in 2006.
As well, 195 collisions caused property damage in 2007, compared to 146 in 2006.
Thirty-three impaired driving incidents were reported. Two people refused to take a breathalyzer test, the same number as 2006.
Under the district-wide R.I.D.E. program, there were 32,263 vehicles checked in 2007—up considerably from 25,988 in 2006.
A total of 134 roadside tests were conducted, resulting in 21 12-hour licence suspensions, two administrative licence suspensions, two impaired driving charges, and one failure/refusal to take a breathalyzer test.
In 2006, 134 roadside tests were conducted, resulting in 14 12-hour licence suspensions, eight administered licence suspensions, 11 impaired driving charges and one failure/refusal to take a breathalyzer test.
Note: The R.I.D.E. program statistics are included in the total annual statistics. For example, the two impaired driving charges laid during R.I.D.E. stops in 2007 are included in the 33 given out during the entire year.