Four murders investigated in 2022
The Chatham-Kent Police Service investigated four murders in 2022 after there were three homicides in 2021, according to the Major Crime report that was presented at the Police Board’s April monthly meeting.
By comparison, there were 11 murders in Chatham-Kent between 2000 and 2020 and only one year with multiple homicides – two in 2006. Arrests were made in all seven murders over the last two years.
The Major Crime Unit reported three attempted murder cases in 2022, down from 10 attempted homicides in 2021.
There were several categories of increased major crime incidents in 2022, including nine aggravated assault cases, up from five in 2021; 130 criminal harassment cases, up from 116; 51 disturbances, up from 48; and 467 assault cases, just one more than the previous year.
There were 14 abductions in 2022, which included parental abductions, human trafficking and forcible confinement, up from seven in 2021.
Several other categories saw decreases in incidents, including 74 sexual assaults, down from 101 in ‘21; 28 robberies, down from 42; 37 weapons charges, down from 69; and 152 drug incidents, down from 224.
In property crimes, Chatham-Kent Police reported 368 residential break-and-enters in 2022, the same number as in 2021.
There was a drop in business B&Es, with 263 last year after 305 were reported in 2021.
Vehicle thefts increased by 15 from the previous year, with 320 reported in 2022, while bicycle thefts rose from 116 to 135.
The 160 fraud cases in 2022 were the same as the year before, while the 24 arson cases were four fewer than in 2021.
Mischief crimes fell slightly from 669 in ‘21 to 653 last year.
The Traffic Department reported decreases in criminal and impaired driving charges in 2022.Police issued 110 impaired/over 80 charges in ‘22, down from 133 in ‘21; 34 three-day and two seven-day suspensions, down from 38 and seven, respectively, in ‘21; and no 30-day suspensions for a second year in a row.
The Intelligence Unit arrested 96 individuals and laid 270 charges for major drug and property crimes in 2022.
The arrests led to $332,145 in drugs seized, $224,300 in property recovered and $16,121.55 in cash seized in these investigations.
The 96 arrests and 270 charges were down from 111 arrests and 454 charges in 2021, while the dollar value of drugs seized dropped from $18,675,160 and property seized dollar amount of $224,300 in 2021.
The report stated the reduction in arrests and charges could be attributed to a reduction in the price of illicit drugs, and the takeover of illegal marijuana grow operations by the Ontario Provincial Police Cannabis Enforcement Team.
The Intelligence Unit also seized 10 illegal guns and weapons and executed 35 warrants.
The CKPS Child Abuse Team conducted 69 investigations in 2022, one more than in 2021 after just 36 cases in 2020.
Of the 69 cases, 46 were sexual assault investigations, 12 physical assaults and 41 follow-up investigations that led to 12 arrests and 60 charges, down from 28 arrests and 76 charges in 2021.
The Internet Child Exploitation Unit conducted 33 investigations in 2022 that led to 12 arrests and 55 total charges, compared to 31 investigations, 14 arrests and 48 charges in 2021.
A total of 142 devices were analyzed for investigations, down from 302 in 2021.
“The challenges for the Intelligence Section from 2021 carried over to 2022 as the pandemic overturned long-established processes and standard functions,” the report to the Police Board stated. “Increasing and changing trends, such as the nature of and ease of access to drugs such as fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, as well as the proliferation of illegal guns with the assistance of readily available technology, will continue the Intelligence Section well into 2023. Notwithstanding, the well-trained and adaptable members of the Intelligence Section will continue to meet all challenges with the same perseverance and relentless vigour as they have in the past. This remains a key attribute of the team and one that will continue to guide it through the challenges that will undoubtedly rise in 2023.”
Meanwhile, incidents requiring the use of force by Chatham-Kent Police offers decreased slightly in 2022, six fewer than in 2021 but 12 more than in 2020. Police used tasers 13 times and pepper spray twice last year, an increase of one in each category from 2021. Police also deployed Narcan, a nasal spray, to reverse the effects of opioid poisoning 33 times compared to 44 in 2021 and 42 in 2020.
The Professional Standards Branch reported 15 public complaints and 58 Chief complaints filed against CKPS officers in 2022.
The report to the Police Board stated 10 complaints were refused by the OIPRD, an independent civilian oversight agency that handles public complaints regarding police conduct in Ontario. Two cases were withdrawn at the complainant’s request, and one was unsubstantiated. One misconduct was deemed minor and was mutually resolved, while one case is still under investigation.
The 58 public complaint investigations triggered by Chief Gary Conn is nine fewer than in 2021. Chief’s Complaints deal with internally generated investigations of personnel and disciplinary issues.
There were 22 incidents of police being involved in motor vehicle collisions, seven for neglect of duty and five for discreditable conduct, down from 26 accidents, 13 discreditable conduct cases and three negligence of duty investigations in 2021.
Disciplinary hearings were held for 12 of the investigations, while others either resulted in internal discipline, counselling, admonishment, remedial training, policy changes, or no action.
Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News