According to RCMP Sergeant Troy Durand, crime is down in Golden.
Sgt. Durand presented the 2010 local crime statistics, as well as the RCMP’s community priorities for the coming year, to Town staff and council at last Tuesday’s Committee of athe Whole meeting.
Although sexual assaults, break and enters, property theft, injuries and deaths from vehicle collisions and bylaw offense numbers were all down—the number of stolen vehicles police dealt with in Golden almost doubled in 2010.
Durand had a simple explanation for this.
“We’re a border town, and vehicles are stolen in Alberta and dumped here,” said Durand, explaining that very few of the vehicle thefts have anything to do with Golden residents.
When councillor Caleb Moss asked Sgt Durand if there was anything that “stuck out” to the RCMP last year, he replied by emphasizing the success of the RCMP’s rigorous “zero tolerance” policy for open liquor in Golden’s downtown core.
The fine for this offense is $236.
“I think we really drove home, to young people especially, that if you’re partying you need to keep it at home and under control.”
As for the RCMP’s community priorities, Sgt. Durand explained that they will focus on the same four areas as last year: drugs, alcohol, road safety and prolific offenders.
“If we combat drugs and alcohol, we are essentially targeting the other problems, too,” explained Sgt. Durand.
There are currently three prolific offenders in Golden, all of whom have spent or will spend some time in jail. Sgt. Durand explained that prolific offenders are made aware that they are part of this program and are being watched closely.
“Basically, we’re saying we want to help you,” said Sgt. Durand.
Sgt. Durand stressed the importance of providing education to lessen drug production and use in our community, rather than strictly enforcement.
“Policing is not winning the war on drugs,” said Durand.
The Golden RCMP will continue to target dangerous drivers on the highway. Sgt. Durand explained that the detachment deals with at least 10 files a day due to erratic driving.
“If you’re going 40 km or more over the speed limit, your car will now be automatically impounded for seven days,” said Sgt. Durand.
Suggestions from the Town included initiating a bike patrol program, and for officers to spend more time building relationships within the community— rather than strictly policing.
“It seems like sometimes the uniform gets bigger than the person,” said councillor Moss.
On the bike patrol suggestion, Sgt. Durand said Golden RCMP just needs to train more officers to patrol by bike, and should have the program going sometime this summer. He also agreed with the sentiment that more positive community building would benefit both the town and the RCMP. He agreed to make it one of this year’s priorities.