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Assaults, thefts continue to be on the rise in Estevan

In the first four months of the year, there have been 144 crimes against property, including 75 thefts under $5,000.
Estevan police building An Estevan Police cruiser in front of the detachment

ESTEVAN - The Estevan Police Service saw an increase in the number of crimes against the person and crimes against property in April.

According to the monthly crime statistics, released at the April 14 meeting of the Estevan board of police commissioners, the EPS had 18 crimes against the person in April, up from 10 for the same month in 2023. Last month there were 13 assaults, three sexual crimes, one assault causing bodily harm and one attempted murder; the latter charge stemmed from the shooting incident that occurred on April 8.

From Jan. 1-April 31, the EPS had 55 crimes against the person, compared to 54 for the same period a year earlier. Assaults have increased from 34 to 42, while sexual crimes have dropped from 20 to nine.

There were 38 crimes against property last month, with 24 thefts under $5,000, 11 mischief/willful damage complaints, one residential break and enter, one theft of a motor vehicle and one theft over $5,000. In April 2023, there were 25 crimes against property.

In the first four months of the year, there have been 144 crimes against property, including 75 thefts under $5,000, which is up 92 per cent from 39 a year earlier; 42 mischief/willful damage complaints, up from 30 the previous year; and 14 thefts of a motor vehicle, up from two in 2023.

Other crimes against property are seven residential break and enters, three business break and enters, one break and enter listed as other, and two thefts over $5,000. All crimes against property are up this year, except for residential break and enters.

In a report for the meeting, Deputy Police Chief Warren Morrical said one individual was responsible for 10 of the thefts and four of the mischief complaints. Nine are under investigation. The EPS has identified a few individuals as suspects, and now they have to catch them.

"There is no real connection other than a small number of individuals who are breaking into backyards, those kinds of things, stealing property from others when they can," said Morrical.

There weren't any charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) in April, compared with one in April 2023. For the first four months this year, there have been 15 CDSA charges, with nine for trafficking and six for possession, down from 21 in 2023.

There were eight Criminal Code traffic violations in April, the same as in April 2023. Five impaired/exceed-related charges and three impairments by drug charges were issued last month. So far in 2024, there have been 40 Criminal Code traffic violations, down from 48 the previous year.

Morrical believes the increase in impaired-by-drug charges from five to 10 this year is related to the EPS's improving capability to detect those individuals through roadside devices.

Overall, the EPS had 522 calls for service in April, down from the 560 they received for the same month in 2023. For the first four months of this year, the EPS had 2,183 calls, down 7.6 per cent from the 2,363 received to start 2023.

The five-year average for the first four months is 2,386 total calls, which exceeds the number the EPS had this year.