Crime down, clearance rate up for Q3 in Midland

·5 min read

From calls to crime, overall numbers were down in a good way, according to the 2021 third quarter report provided to the Midland Police Service Board.

Southern Georgian Bay (SGB) OPP Detachment Commander Joe Evans, who was officially congratulated by the Police Service Board (PSB) on his promotion to the position earlier this year, presented the 2021 third quarter report dated from July to September with comparisons to the same timeframe the previous year.

Evans stated that the numbers of violent crime in Midland were down by half overall from this time last year.

While there have been two more incidents of sexual assault both of which are currently under investigation, the amount of assaults in general are over half of what they were previously. Total clearance rates for violent crime are nearly 55% in that three-month time span.

Overall property crime is down by a third with a clearance rate of 23%, and while theft under remains steady, Evans noted that it has been a trend since COVID-19 began. Evans added that while mischief is down by a quarter, it was something that the police would “have to stay on top of."

Frauds are down nearly two-thirds, and Evans praised a new hire in finding and holding those people accountable.

“We have a new detective that we have hired into our crime unit here, and she’s working specifically on frauds and seems to love that work,” said Evans.

Clearance rates for drug crime are at 100%, with four investigations into possession and one into trafficking. No importation and production investigations occurred.

“We’re hitting our drug crime as good as we can,” Evans said, “plus we’re finding more which is the whole idea behind our street crime unit.”

For collisions within SGB, incidents of personal injury and property damage remained constant, while speed was a contributing factor in the sole traffic fatality throughout the region to date.

“I’m not looking forward to the first couple of snowfalls until people get their head around what a proper speed is with the conditions they’re driving,” stated Evans.

It was an encouraging third quarter report, with Evans mentioning that calls for service (CFS) were down at 1,409 from last year’s amount of 1,694 during the same time period, a drop of 17%. “We still have lots of business in Midland,” he added.

That was good news to PSB chair George Dixon, who did additional calculations of CFS for two previous years.

Keeping in mind that the data is dynamic in nature as OPP investigate and solve crimes, Dixon noticed that the billable hours were listed in the report as 25,079 in 2019 and 22,099 in 2020, with the billable hours year-to-date for 2021 at 17,344; a 31% drop from 2019 and 22% drop from 2020.

“To my mind,” said Dixon, “that’s a very good indicator of the success Southern Georgian Bay detachment is having in dealing with the issues of policing and crime in our town."

“I’m glad to see that the trend has been coming down,” Evans replied. “There’s a lot of hard work that’s done by our officers here and will continue to be done by our officers here, and it’s all about making the community as safe as we can.”

PSB member Judy Clapperton raised a question toward public concerns over police presence in schools.

Evans stated that primary grades connected with the police while secondary grade students were more likely to “kick back”; however, without any police presence students would be left on their own.

“We have very few chances to show up on the positive side of life when we wear this type of laundry,” said Evans. “I’m all about community engagement.”

It was a sentiment Evans repeated towards a question from Midland Mayor Stewart Strathearn, who asked what the criteria were for setting hourly limits as foot patrol hours were listed as 217 during the third quarter this year, compared to 2,037 cruiser patrol hours in the same time.

“I’m a huge advocate for getting out of your cruiser. It’s better for the officer, it’s better for the community,” stated Evans, who said that engagement would allow for better interactions with the public. “If we’re visible, if we’re on foot, you can hear a lot more than if you’ve got your air conditioner blasting, going through the town.”

The report also mentioned: an OPP-distributed school supply drive, which provided First Nations students with backpacks full of community generosities; the Tim's for Good community support program through the Penetanguishene Tim Hortons, which provided commitments to food, people, and the planet; and a new free online driver’s licence check service launched by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO).

Evans also spoke to the Thomas P. Coffin patrol vessel as the first OPP vessel outfitted with an automated external defibrillator (AED), supplied through the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund, which donates an AED to an area in memory of a fallen officer. The vessel will be able to assist people away from shore, unable to have the assistance of a land ambulance.

“Dave Mounsey and I were good friends,” shared Evans. “He was killed in a car accident in 2010 and we miss him dearly. But from that, Dave was big on saying we can do more to help the public and our communities when there’s an accident or when there’s cardiac arrest patients. What he was trying to do was have an AED in each cruiser.”

Also in marine news, the SGB Detachment ranked first in the province for vessel checks, 90-day ADLS issuances, and charges for impaired, LLA, and CSA.

In addition to Evans being confirmed as detachment commander, other staffing updates in the report include: PC Dustin Lemmon and PC Kevin Wise transferring in from York and Peel regions respectively; recruit PC Mitchel Karpinski; the temporary assignments of Acting Detective Sergeant Scott Brown as supervisor with CSCU and Jane Argue as a contracted admin clerk; and PC Elana Durtnall as Community Service Officer.

The full third quarter report can be found within the town of Midland Police Services Board agenda page.

Archives of Midland Police Services Board meetings can be found on the town of Midland’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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