Police report shows fewer detainees, crimes in Nunavik last year

There were fewer crimes involving violence, theft and mischief last year in Nunavik and fewer people were taken into custody, according to a year-end report presented by Nunavik Police Service.

Nunavik police Chief Jean-Pierre Larose presented the statistics for 2023 were presented to Kativik Regional Government members Wednesday during the third day of the regional council’s meeting being held this week in Kuujjuaq.

Incidents of assault from level one to level three were down sharply, to 2,410 incident last year compared to 3,003 in 2022. Assaults on police officers also dropped, to 239 last year from 298 in 2022.

There were 245 incidents of sexual assault last year, down from 271 in the previous year.

However, cases of sexual assault with a weapon increased to nine last year from seven in 2022, and there were three incidents of aggravated sexual assault compared to one case in 2022.

There were seven homicides in Nunavik last year, up from four in 2022 but even with the seven recorded in 2021.

Incidents of impaired driving in the communities dropped to 467 in 2023 from 662 the previous year, a 29 per cent decrease. However, impaired driving causing bodily harm cases rose to 30 from 21 the previous year and there were 29 hit-and-run incidents in Nunavik last year, up from 25 the year before.

There were 19 suicides across Nunavik in 2023, two more than were recorded in 2022 — but a sharp drop from 2021 when 28 people died by suicide.

Thefts, mischief-related crimes and the issuing of bylaw tickets all fell last year.

Statistics released by Nunavik police also showed officers took fewer people into custody in 2023 compared to 2022.

Last year, 3,205 adults were detained on criminal charges compared to 4,334 the year before. It was the same for youths, where 67 were detained for criminal matters last year compared to 101 in 2022.

Concerning arrests, most of the workload went to officers on the joint task force involving Nunavik police and Quebec provincial police officers, which was formed in 2021, said Deputy Chief Jean-François Morin.

“Since its creation, the team has successfully executed numerous investigations and substance control operations,” said Morin.

“The team has proven to be very effective, improving response time of investigators deployed on major events.”

Morin said that among the numerous operations they were a part of in Hudson coast and Ungava coast communities, the biggest was one that went through Canada Post.

Two operations have been conducted since November, Morin said, and they involved illegal smuggling or sale of alcohol, methamphetamines, cannabis, hashish, mushrooms and contraband cigarettes.

All told, the items seized carried a black market value of about $490,000.

Currently, the Nunavik Police Service has 107 active officers in the region. 11 new student employees were hired and started their training at the RCMP police academy, and three students graduated from the academy and began working in Nunavik.

The academy is a way for Nunavik Police Services to accept candidates who do not have a diploma from the Quebec Police Academy.

Recruits are sent to an RCMP depot police academy in Regina, Sask., where they go through a 26-week training program. After graduation, recruits sign a five-year contract to work with the Nunavik Police Service.

Cedric Gallant, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News