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Niverville Council Grapples with Crime Report

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Police

Staff Sergeant Guy Landreville from the St. Pierre RCMP detachment appeared at a meeting of Niverville’s town council on October 6 to present a report on how the town is doing on issues of crime and policing.

Overall, Landreville said that crime stats are down, though there has been some concern over whether this means crime incidents are actually occurring less often, or that RCMP are simply responding to fewer incidents.

He illustrated the situation at the St. Pierre detachment, which is where Niverville’s response calls are typically based. He reported that the station is short-staffed by about five positions at the moment.

Niverville mayor Myron Dyck suggested that the lack of officers may mean response times are lower or that calls incoming may not be followed up, which would indeed result in fewer crimes being officially registered.

To this end, a discussion was had by council about the possibility of adding a police officer out of the St. Pierre detachment who would be designated to the Niverville area.

However, RCMP practices require an on-duty officer to respond to calls wherever they come from, regardless of their designated area, so there is some doubt as to whether adding a Niverville-specific officer would be effective.

Council discussed other ways in which crime can be reduced in town and pointed out that they’ve seen some a direct benefit from adding security cameras to various locations around town.

CAO Eric King explained that the town has approximately 20 cameras at nine different locations and that one camera had been useful just this past summer, in the case of a hit-and-run.

Councillor Nathan Dueck asked the opinion of Sgt. Landreville: “Is adding more security cameras going to help?”

“Absolutely,” said Landreville. “The town camera’s quality was excellent and helped solve the hit-and-run this summer.”

According to Mayor Dyck, the town’s cameras were purchased at a higher cost for this express purpose. It has been noted that security cameras typically provide only a grainy picture and are often inadmissible in court. Niverville’s cameras were selected in consultation with the RCMP in order to deliver high-quality images.

Landreville also reported that police interacting more often with youth, and possibly appearing in schools, could be beneficial to decreasing crime in a community. There are ways to help foster this, such as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), more frequent RCMP presentations in classrooms, and hiring school resource officers (SROs).

According to the Government of Canada’s website, the SRO program serves Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario and “is a collaboration between law enforcement officers and the school community in order to create a setting that is safe and secure, with a focus on prevention and early intervention activities.”

Landreville said that is exactly what the program does, and that it is very successful when officers build relationships with young people.

“RCMP education in schools would be great,” Landreville said. “Yes, a school resource officer would be great. Every step the community can take to be more involved with police is beneficial. We want to show that we care. And if we can communicate that to students from a young age, it is most beneficial.”

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