Crime down, firearms offences up in Saskatchewan

July 23, 2018 9:10 am

The 2017 police-reported crime statistics released today by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics reveal some positive trends, as well as some ongoing challenges in Saskatchewan.

The overall crime rate in Saskatchewan dropped in 2017 by 3%. Areas served by the RCMP saw overall crime decline by 3% as well, with property crime going down 5%. Homicides in RCMP detachment areas were also down from 35 in 2016 to 22 in 2017.

The Stats Canada numbers however, show firearms-related offences on the rise in Saskatchewan.

That is also reflected in the numbers in RCMP jurisdictions where firearms-related offences increased by 71%.

While that is highly concerning to the RCMP, it is worth noting that we have started seeing a decline in those numbers through the first half of 2018.

On the crime severity index, one Saskatchewan community has the highest incidence of serious crime of any community over 10,000 people in Canada. North Battleford tops the crime severity index for all of Canada.

Saskatchewan RCMP is working hard to be responsive to these challenges by focusing our efforts, targeting our resources and leveraging our partnerships:

· We are focusing on intelligence-led policing by collecting and analyzing information/data to conduct strategic patrols and deploy our resources as effectively and efficiently as possible.

· Based on intelligence, we are targeting our enforcement to disrupt criminal activity and track prolific offenders. The Crime Reduction Team that was introduced in early 2018 has focused on this type of policing and has conducted multiple operations with encouraging results. In partnership with the Provincial government, this has led to the creation of two permanent CRTs beginning in September, 2018.

· The Saskatchewan RCMP continue to work with their law-enforcement partners through integrated street teams, combined forces teams and the newly-formed Provincial Protection and Response Team. Working with our Conservation Officer and Saskatchewan Highway Patrol partners, the PPRT is already making a positive impact on community safety. The RCMP also joined forces with other police services to conduct a Firearms Amnesty program in the spring that helped get hundreds of firearms out of circulation.

· The RCMP are working with our communities and other agencies to develop partnerships and programs to prevent and reduce crime. Over 100 Saskatchewan communities are either developing or already operating Rural Crime Watch or Citizens on Patrol programs.

While these efforts are proving effective, policing is only one part of the solution to crime problems. That is why community engagement is one of the RCMP’s top priorities. Detachments across the province conducted Town Hall meetings in 2018 to hear community safety concerns and develop long-term policing plans and priorities.

The RCMP is committed to working collaboratively with our partner agencies, local governments and community leaders to develop and implement strategies that will help address the root causes of crime and lead to stronger, safer and healthier communities.