ESTEVAN - The number of crimes against person committed in Estevan went down in March in comparison to the beginning of the year, but is still higher than last year.
The Estevan Police Service crime statistics were discussed during the latest Estevan board of police commissioners meeting on April 26.
Members of the EPS saw eight crimes against person in March as opposed to 14 in March 2021. However, due to the influx in this kind of crime earlier this year, the year-to-date stats are still up 37 per cent (37 cases) in comparison to the same period of time in 2021 (27 cases). There were two sexual crimes and six assaults reported in March.
Estevan Police Chief Richard Lowen commented on the situation.
"The anomaly we had last month in relation to the assaults being high has come down again, we're back to a normal number. But you'll see that the year-to-date stats for crimes against persons are 37 compared to 27 the year before. And that's because we had high numbers last month," Lowen said.
Altogether, the EPS responded to 560 calls for service and other infractions in March, which is down from the previous year, when over the same 31 days officers responded to 772 calls for service. On a year-to-date basis, the EPS saw a 27 per cent drop in call volumes from 2,042 in 2021 to 1,497 up to date this year.
There were 24 crimes against property in March, with 11 thefts under $5,000, 10 mischief or willful damage complaints, two residence break and enters and one theft of a motor vehicle.
The EPS has had 54 crime against property calls for the first three months of this year, led by 23 mischief/willful damage calls and 22 thefts under $5,000. Last year up to the date there were 56 crime against property calls.
Police handled six charges under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) in March, all for trafficking. So far this year, members have had 15 CDSA calls, with 10 for trafficking and five for possession. Last year by the end of March, EPS dealt with 13 such cases.
The EPS had eight Criminal Code traffic violations in March, with four for impaired or exceed related offences, one for impairment by drug and three for dangerous driving and other. In the first three months of the year, there were 17 charges: 10 for impaired or exceed related offences, four impaired by drug and three for dangerous driving and other. In the first three months of 2021, EPS dealt with 21 such situations.
When compared to the five-year average year to date, all types of crimes were up in the first three months of the year. Crimes against person were up 117.6 per cent from 17 on the five-year average to 37 in 2022; crimes against property were up 42.1 percent from 38 on average to 54; Criminal Code traffic violations were up 1.2 per cent from 16.8 on the five-year average to 17 by the end of March; and CDSA violations are up 92.3 per cent from 7.8 on average to 15 so far this year.
Year-to-date calls for service (1,497) are also up in comparison to the five-year average, which were at 1,197.
Also at the meeting, the monthly report from Special Const. Morgan Prentice, the city's bylaw enforcement officer, showed that there were 97 occurrences in March. Included in that total were 31 parking violations, 16 animal calls, 15 taxi bylaw-related calls, six animal violations, five animal impounds, five unkempt property inspections, five snow removal notices and other calls.
So far this year, bylaw enforcement has had 163 infractions, including 64 for parking violations, 25 animal calls and 21 taxi bylaw calls.