In first half of 2015, Nunavut’s capital saw fewer crimes against persons
But property crimes rose 13 per cent
Iqaluit’s latest crime statistics for the first six months of 2015 are in — and these show that crimes against persons are down by almost 20 per cent from the same period of 2014.
That’s according to an update on crime stats from Iqaluit RCMP member Sgt. David Combden to Iqaluit city council at a council meeting July 14.
“Any reduction is a positive thing,” said Combden, who later spoke to Nunatsiaq News.
In 2015, there were 437 crimes committed against persons in Iqaluit between January and June, down from 542 in 2014.
However, compared with 2014, Iqaluit crime during the first part of 2015 did increase in two categories: drug offenses and property crimes.
There were 56 drug offences between January and June 2015 — that’s five more compared with the same period last year.
A much steeper spike took place in property crime, with a total of 1,339 instances of property crimes in Iqaluit during the first six months of 2015.
That’s up 13 per cent compared to 2014.
The majority of those are considered mischief crimes, Combden said.
From April to June 2015, out of 646 instances of property crime, 573 were categorized as “mischief.”
“Mischief is an umbrella for anything that relates to property. So it could be someone banging on your door at night. Somebody yelling behind your house,” Combden told Nunatsiaq News.
“Anything that deals with property that isn’t specific to a threat falls to mischief. So a loud house party would fall under that.”
And, there could be a connection between the property crime numbers and the number of people detained at the Iqaluit RCMP detachment.
A total of 1,587 people were lodged at the detachment in the first six months of 2015. That’s up 10 per cent from 2014.
“Prisoner numbers are up, mischief is up. So I’d say they’re one in the same. So I think we’ll have to look at the root cause of that,” Combden said.
“I’d think probably alcohol has to do with a lot of it. So we’ll look at some different enforcement strategies in the future for that.”
Combden also updated city council on a new offender management program, run by the RCMP’s crime reduction unit, which aims to “deter habitual offenders.”
Under this program, RCMP officers monitor offenders’ court orders, or bail conditions, more closely, to see if there is compliance.
Court orders could include orders not to consume alcohol, to avoid a certain resident’s property or to observe a curfew.
“One of the problems is people are on conditions and we’re not checking up on them. They’re thinking, ‘Well maybe they’re not going to come tonight, I can go out to the bar,’” Combden said.
A filing system outlines which person needs checking up on, and when, he said.
“[So] if the offender knows we’re out there actively checking on them, they’re in many cases less inclined in getting involved in situations where they can get charged again,” Combden said.
“The last place I worked in, in Manitoba, we had great success with this. We know specific people can cause specific problems, we’re making sure they don’t cause the problems.”