photo. (Photo by Jason Viau)

B & E’s Up Last Year in CK, But Still Below 10 Year Average

While break and enters in 2017 appeared alarmingly up from the previous year, local police believe strides are being made as the total is still under the 10 year average.

Chatham-Kent police have released their 2017 annual report, which saw residential B and E’s increase 30% from 556 in 2016 to 722. While the increase may seem significant on the surface, CK police chief Gary Conn said people have to look at the big picture.

“We cannot just analyze one year in regards to crimes. The one year could just be an anomaly, so instead we need to analyze years of data … If you examine the last ten years, you will recognize the fact that we fluctuate from 556, which was our lowest year in 2016, to 1203 in 2012. The median average over the past ten years is 851 break and enters and as a result, our last year number of 722 break and enters is well below our ten year average.”

Conn said unemployment, the social and economic state of the municipality, and an “ebb and flow” from year to year are some of the reasons for the increase, but the main reason according to Conn, was drugs.

He said Canada is currently going through an opiod epidemic and that CK is no different. Conn added many addicts will commit B and E’s and robberies to fuel their habit.

Conn said another reason for the high total is what he refers to as “career criminals,” who would rather look for crimes of opportunity than obtain legal work.

“Their only deterrence is incarceration,” Conn said. “Once they’re released from jail, they usually return to their old habits. We are calling on our partners in the Justice System to recognize that there is a problem in our community and we need their assistance and support to help resolve it.”

According to Conn, charges result in roughly 10% of reported incidents. He added individuals who are brought to court, need to be held accountable.

“In consideration of all of the principles of sentencing, which in our community requires an elevated consideration of general and specific deterrence, certainly in regards to property crimes,” Conn said.

According to the police chief, the department is working on many initiatives to mitigate B and E’s. They include public awareness campaigns through the media and detachment website.

Other initiatives include Target Hardening, CPTED audits, Break and Enter Smarts, STOP Strategy, Compliance Checks, Person Stops, Patch for Patch, Bicycle Registry, Surveillance Camera Registry.

“Coming real soon, a Property Registry, which will further assist us in interdicting these criminals and hopefully elevate community engagement/mobilization,” Conn said.

According to the annual report,┬ábreak and enters at businesses weren’t up as much. They increased 16% from from 314 in 2016 to 363 last year.