Assaults and mental health calls on the rise for White Butte RCMP; overall crime rates remain low

·2 min read

White Butte RCMP updated White City council Dec. 14 on local crime stats for the town over the past six months.

In all, police said there were 340 valid reports of potential crimes, with 143 charges laid based on those complaints. In 88 other incidents, the situation was resolved without a charge laid. There were also six reports where the complaint was deemed unfounded and was disregarded.

“Overall, I’m very pleased in comparison with some other periods,” Staff-Sgt. Jason Sauve said. “I’ve been here two years and there were some times when car break-ins and stolen vehicles were happening and those property crimes since COVID hit has been down substantially.”

However, calls related to domestic assaults have risen for the detachment area as a whole, as have mental health calls, though those numbers are still very low, Sauve said.

White City mayor Brian Fergusson asked Sauve about those assault cases, whether those increases were trends noted in other detachments as well. And they are, Sauve said, with city police forces reporting similar increases.

“I think it’s people who have been cooped up for nine months, and that’s caused a lot of stress for some people,” Sauve said. “With Christmas and the holidays being single household only unless you are a single person going to a home of six people or less, I don’t foresee that trend changing any time before Jan. 15.”

Sauve added that many of the calls for service or cases where police have stopped people have been for traffic offences, which isn’t surprising given the proximity of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 48 in White City. Of the 143 charges laid by White Butte RCMP in White City overall, 111 of them were for provincial traffic offences (48 for speeding). Most of those tickets were handed out on Ramm Avenue and Highway 48. A coalition of Regina Police Services and RCMP officers form a traffic services unit which work the Trans-Canada Highway and other areas such as Southey, Lumsden, and Moose Jaw.

“We are a busy detachment – 33,000 cars drive by on the east side of Regina on Highway 1 every day,” Sauve said. “Probably the biggest amount of calls is driving-related complaints. But we also have sexual assault-related cases, and a year ago we inherited the primary policing responsibility for the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre. That’s anywhere from four to eight criminal code offences a month, and probably 10-12 assisting matters a month which can be getting fingerprints or statements from inmates. When an incident happens at the jail, we get notified two or three days later. And all of the (evidence) gets sent to us in a package so the investigations aren’t time consuming. The reports are already there for us so we have a pretty good idea what’s going on.”

Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum