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Crime calls see only slight increase in 2023 in North Battleford

Crime levels much the same level as before in North Battleford according to final stats for 2023 from Battlefords RCMP detachment.
North Battleford council heard the RCMP crime stats at their meeting Feb. 12.

NORTH BATTLEFORD - The final statistics are in for North Battleford Municipal RCMP Detachment and they show a mixed result with some areas showing increases and others showing decreases.

The final stats were presented in the report from RCMP Inspector Jesse Gilbert at North Battleford City Council on Monday night. According to those numbers the detachment had 16,942 calls in 2023, up from 16,760 the year before and up 18 per cent from 14,393 in 2019.

Individual categories saw mixed results. Persons offences were at 1432, up from 1,363 the year before and up 34 from 2019. There were three homicides in 2023, up one from the year previous. Assaults were down slightly for the year from 535 to 518, and sexual assaults were down from 34 to 25. But offences for the 'use of, discharge, or pointing' of firearms were up from 19 to 31.

Property offences were at 4,399, down 25 from a year earlier, but other Criminal Code offences were up from 2,719 to 2,954. Both categories are way up from 2019 — up 29 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.

Provincial traffic offences were also up, from 2097 to 2,465, while the non-offence codes went down from 5,037 to 4,695.

For the October through December period, calls were up three percent from 3,929 to 4,049. Insp. Gilbert pointed in particular to a rise in provincial traffic offences, due mainly to the checkstop program which saw an increase from four to 117 compared to the year before, and a rise in impaired-related offences and roadside suspensions from seven to 24. 

This was a result of their proactive enforcement efforts in this area, he said. “I’m very happy to see those increases because it shows we’re going out and doing that work,” said Gilbert.

He also pointed to a decline in firearms offences in the quarter, which fell from 21 to 3, which was also a reversal of the upward trend seen earlier in the year. Overall, firearms offences were also not at the levels seen five years earlier - down 39 percent from the 66 seen in 2019.

Gilbert also pointed to big successes in the area of thefts of motor vehicles, with those numbers way down for the year to 148, down 27 per cent from 219 a year earlier. The numbers for 2023 marked a five-year low.

“The GTF (Gang Task Force) has been working very hard to get those vehicles back,” said Gilbert. 

Councillor Kelli Hawtin saw the overall numbers for the quarter as a positive, saying if provincial traffic offences were taken out of the report, total calls for service would have been down compared to a year earlier. 

“It’s nice to see those other areas we’re making a difference somewhere,” Hawtin said. “Something’s changing, something is improving.”