Cell bars (Photo by Maureen Revait, BlackburnNews.com)

Chatham-Kent Crime Rate Up In 2016

The crime rate was up in Chatham-Kent last year, but it’s still lower than other similar communities in Canada.

Local violent crime in 2016 was up 2% compared to 2015 and non-violent crime jumped 7.7% during the same period.

However, those numbers are less than the five year average across Chatham-Kent and overall less than the national and provincial averages.

Police Chief Gary Conn says break and enters are still a big concern, especially at detached garages and sheds.

“We took a look at the break and enters and almost 50% occur to sheds and detached garages and 90% of the time they’re not locked,” says Conn.

Of 50 Police Services in Canada with similar populations, Chatham-Kent placed 20th in non-violent crimes, 44th for violent crimes, and 24th overall.

Conn says he’ll be reviewing the chronic offenders list and their compliance to release conditions to curb career criminals.

“They’re rather lazy. So, they look to crimes of opportunity. They’ll go around and check doors to cars, houses, sheds and garages and if they happen to be unlocked, that’s going to be their target,” the chief says.

Conn says break-ins have been a problem for several years and something is going to be done about it, mostly by knocking on the door of repeat offenders.

“You’ll see an increase in compliance checks. A lot of these people are release with conditions and a lot of the time they breach these conditions. Some of the conditions, in a lot of cases, have curfews,” says the chief.

The chief says when the career criminals are behind bars, break and enters go down but when they’re out they go back up again.

He thinks longer incarceration periods might deter them.

Chief Conn also says a lot of break-ins are committed by drug addicts who sell the items to buy more drugs.