Curfew has kept crime down in Nunavik, say police

KRPF chief recommends all communities consider local alcohol sales

Nunavik police say incidents of crime are down across the region since restrictions were put in place limiting when residents can go out and how much alcohol they can purchase. (Photo by Sarah Rogers)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavik police say incidents of crime are down across the region since restrictions went in place limiting residents’ movement and how much alcohol they can purchase.

In late March, Nunavik officials implemented a nighttime curfew for all 14 communities, and put limits on the amount of alcohol residents could buy locally or order from southern retailers.

The result has been a significant drop in police interventions and detentions, Kativik Regional Police Force management told Kativik Regional Government council meetings on Tuesday, May 26, which were hosted from Kuujjuaq via videoconference.

Over the four-month period between January and April, the number of criminal incidents dropped from 3,621 in 2019 to 2,801 in 2020.

Overall, the KRPF said they are seeing fewer assaults, fewer incidents of impaired driving and fewer adults accused of crimes. The only incidents police have noted an increase in this year are mischief [property damage] and some careless firearm use.

“The COVID-19 situation has considerably brought down our numbers,” said the KRPF’s deputy chief, Jean-François Morin. “We see a direct link between the measures that were put in place.”

Curfew measures have recently been eased, but even at their onset, the KRPF said Nunavimmiut were compliant. The police have made no arrests and issued no fines in relation to the curfew.

Alcohol seizures throughout the region have also dropped this spring compared to the same period last year, KRPF officials told council meetings this week.

The KRPF didn’t speculate on why, but police officials did make a recommendation to community leaders: all Nunavik communities should explore the option of having local retail beer and wine sales.

Co-op customers in Puvirnituq first pay for and then pick up their alcohol order at this counter in the lobby of the co-op store. (Photo by Sarah Rogers)

Currently, just two Nunavik communities, Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq, have access to beer and wine sales through their local co-op stores. Following the launch of those sales in both communities, police said they noticed a drop in crime.

“Our position is that prohibition is not a solution,” KRPF Chief Jean-Pierre Larose told KRG council meetings. “With the statistics that we have and what we’ve seen with COVID-19 … there is a benefit having a controlled bylaw for selling alcohol.”

“We think it would be helpful for us to control the bootleggers in all the communities.”

Larose told KRG councillors that police were prepared to work with Northern Villages to draft their own regulations around the sale of alcohol.

Bail hearings on the big screen

With no commercial flights in and out of Nunavik during the COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement in Nunavik has revisited two pilot projects to help process detainees as efficiently as possible.

KRPF said its detachments are doing bail hearings by videoconference when possible, to allow detainees to make a first court appearance within the required three-day period, without having to travel to Amos.

And for those detainees who remain in custody, the KRPF has once again begun to charter aircraft to transfer detainees directly to the Amos detention facility, rather than first flying them to Montreal.

Between March 19 and May 1, the KRPF said it chartered eight flights from the region to Amos.

“This situation proves these two projects are not only possible but also beneficial for accused individuals,” Morin told regional councillors on May 26.

“But an agreement determining the responsibilities of the KRG, the KRPF and the provincial government must be reached before the projects can be permanently implemented.”

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by Minnie on

    Good, That’s how it suppose to be anyways.

    Them days were so innocent helping each others, supporting each others, hunting for whole community, sharing food, having a big feast outside when the weather is nice enough to eat out.


    We are going against each other these days, we are just getting drunk forgetting about our children, is that our culture today? is that how it suppose to be?
    Inuuqatigiirnialualirtuiit inukallait, angajaarasutuiinnalirtut qiturngaminik ipirainnaimatsutik, tamannatagaa piusiugiaqarqa?

    Nowadays, there are a lot of separation due to drinking and committing adultery, hurting and damaging their children’s hearts
    Arnariit angutigiit aviutituiinnapalirtut, qiturngaapimminik uummatiapinginnik siqumitsialutsasutik?

    • Posted by That’s what I say everyday on

      That’s what I’ve been saying forever amen. Yes a curfew and less crime. So there you have it. That’s not a big price to pay for a better, less criminal society. Hey , to that special committee created for the pandemic, hey, why not continue to make less crime, you know what to do? Do something good with that committee.

  2. Posted by Pauloosie on

    Police Report on crimes went down in Pov after opening beer sales is not TRUE.
    KRPF if you could make a recommendation to open all nunavik stores to sell beers and wine. I recommend you to eradicate bootlegging first ?!?! And why you say you could control the illegal sales only when the stores open beer and wines When you could never control it in the first place ???

    • Posted by Agree Pauloosie on

      I cautioned the population to not pay much attention to recommendations from krpf with regards to alcohol sales also. Caution the community leaders to scrutinize these suggestions from the chief of police with all the care the population deserves. Yes, the police can’t even do much for the number of drunk drivers going around a town like kuujjuaq. The numbers are frightening incredible. They probably chartered 8 planes to Amos, showing only a small percent of drunk drivers going for that ride. The Police can’t even or will not set up simple road blocks, which we all know is very effective. Save life with that also. Nope, their recommendations need not get much attention. There should be a book written called “they’re never catch a bootlegger right beside them”. I can see controlled booze sales in all communities, but who will control it is the million dollar question.

      • Posted by Nunavik Inuk on

        You are dreaming of a utopian society , this is good old dusfunctional Nunavik, keep dreaming

        • Posted by Pack sacks on

          Daily around 1 o’clock co-op beer sales. That when small groups of men dressed in dark colour clothing walking away from the co-op store with pack sacks on their backs, sadly looking and shamed that they have to be seen. You see them walking towards some shed near a house. There are several of these groups seen going with their pack sacks laced on their backs with beer. Most of them, if not all of them are not working, where they get the money who knows? They have no cars , boats , or skidoo’s. Welfare maybe, they’re not kids , they are adults. Then if you were to drive pass the local police station next morning , the same ones are looking out a jail window. There, make a paint of that.

          • Posted by Kuujjamiuk on

            Daily routine in Kuujjuaq

  3. Posted by All dolled up on

    Says the police made no arrests in regards to the curfew. What did they do then, let the drunks go? In the beginning the mayor of kuujjuaq was on local fm talking about a significant number of drunk drivers stopped in kuujjuaq at the beginning of the curfew, it’s in the recorded fm station archives. Over 20 stops, most related to drinking and driving. Plus kids out breaking in buildings. What did the police do about that ? This is all made up to make the authorities, the police to look good. Just be thankful the virus didn’t get here yet. And if it did get here, or if it does get here, we’ll here more lies, and will be at the mercy of the province, not the authorities in the area of Nunavik.

  4. Posted by ??? on

    I thought it was the control of alcohol orders that made more difference than the curfew. No?

  5. Posted by Slob on

    First responders see much of what we don’t see as they carry corpses who died from alcohol related incidences. We see families grieving their losses numb to shock from some violent deaths at times too many. Many of our leaders are alcoholics who unshamedly become hypocritical and try to call for ways to control consumption to the mass who are all traumatized by such scourge that has swept the communities across the arctic. Bootleggers without conscience allow families to struggle and children suffer neglect, poverty at high rate. No one now can say they are not affected by alcohol abuse while the elite few sit on their couches drinking Mr. Booze Hangover. All workplaces can calculate how much sickleave is taken which really is hangovers are causing less productivity and miss work. The majority of communities are seeing their people going further into a whirlpool of misery if we don’t find a way to reduce this issue of the problem. It’s mindboggling how even the bright & promising future of our children is being darkened by people who would even encourage those who are in need of rehab go for a nightmare scenario of booze controlled sales & suggest bootleggers will find it harder to sell this product. There are very few rehab centres that could accommodate hundreds of alcoholics dying slowly. A penny for your thoughts.

  6. Posted by Horrific on

    When I heard about the chief of police encouraging alcohol sales in our communities, it’s disturbing. It shows the quick decision with a big misunderstanding of Inuit culture. We don’t necessarily have to be like others that use alcohol. As a matter of fact we are very different from others. Alcohol is destroying us. It’s not destroying us because of illegal or legal. It’s destroying because we don’t use it well. We don’t need someone to make a blanket fit for all
    decision about alcohol sales. We need to invest in getting our culture back, and be who we really are.

    • Posted by Nunavik Inuk on

      Alcohol is here to stay , even if you don t want it . You can get it legally, in a beer store or from your town bootlegger, CHEERS !

  7. Posted by What is going on? on

    I totally agree with slop some leaders are sleeping just wanting to be num and have a hangovers caz it’s very hard working to deal with but really they have to be more awake what it’s going on with the community? mostly with kids yp social workers lawyers are they being taking care of with the mayors of all nunavik what is going on people? Are we just going to be helpless in nunavik? The good workers are just being in the sick leave caz having problem with there drinking. I don’t know if this is going anywhere

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