MRC SQ: Crime levels hold steady

MRC SQ: Crime levels hold steady

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Inspector Mario Lessard and MRC public security committee chairman Yvan Cardinal: ‘The message we’re concentrating on is that if you or your kids do it, you’re going to pay for it’.
(Gazette, Julie Cadieux

by Julie Cadieux

VAUDREUIL-DORION — If you are caught speeding in a residential area or your kids vandalize it or cover it with graffiti, you’ll pay. That’s the message, announced Monday, that the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC and the regional Sûreté du Quebec will be concentrating on in the coming summer months.
The announcement at MRC headquarters was part of the annual release of crime statistics and objectives for the coming year by Inspector Mario Lessard, commander of the region’s two SQ detachments, and Pincourt mayor and deputy MRC prefect Yvan Cardinal.
Lessard pointed out that even though the MRC’s population has increased by at least 10 percent in the past year, the number of complaints filed dropped from 5,250 in 2009-2010 to 5,137 in 2010-2011.
More specifically, crimes against an individual went down from 797 reported cases in to 712. Crimes against property, which include vandalism, fraud and simple theft, saw an overall small increase from 2,552 to 2,587 reported incidents even though auto theft, breaking and entering and criminal incidents all decreased.
There were 21 more automobile accidents in the past year than in the previous 12 months, even though Highway Code infractions were down from 21,017 to 17,560. This category includes impaired driving arrests, which dropped to 351 cases from 375. Although there’s no direct connection, the MRC’s 15 Citizens Action Committee chapters carried out 105 citizen-awareness campaigns, most of them to urge responsible driving.
Cardinal, also head of the MRC’s public security committee, explained that after the 23 MRC mayors reviewed the data they agreed to a focused campaign about speeding in residential areas and the surveillance of parks and public areas. The objective is to make drivers aware of the risks of accidents by speeding as well as the cost of infractions they could receive if caught doing so.
As for parks and public spaces, residents need to teach their children a sense of responsibility and respect, which is why the public campaign will focus on the fines and criminal charges that could be facing miscreants, or in the case of juveniles, their families.
Recent court decisions have led to stiff fines for repeat graffiti offenders and vandals such as those who repeatedly trashed Hudson’s Sandy Beach Nature Park over recent weeks.
As Cardinal explained, the goal is to ensure that taxpayers will no longer be asked to to foot the bill for the cost of repairs to public property.
One problem-solving technique singled out in the report, the Strategic Approach and Problem Resolution protocol, was used successfully in Pincourt to deal with a neighbourhood nuisance and vandalism issue in Pincourt. Patrollers, citizens, town employees, a private security agency and the Anges des Parcs youth bike patrols increased their presence, noted criminal infractions, made arrests and applied a zero-tolerance policy to anyone. In five months, the problem had been resolved and in Septmeber, the house where the problems originated was put up for sale.
Finally, Lessard made it clear that driving with expired plates, insurance or a suspended licence is going to become increasingly risky for scofflaws.
Although the MRC still has only one of its vehicles equipped with an automatic license plate recognition device that started as a pilot project three years ago. the SQ are in negotiations to have 600 police vehicles fitted over the next two to three months.
According to Lessard, the automatic scanners are so efficient, in most cases when they use the device they often have a tow truck along and still they “just can’t keep up. The amount of drivers out there driving illegally is surprising,” he added.

The Hudson St. Lazare Gazette – June 8 2011

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