Skip to content

'Frequent flyers': South Simcoe police targeting repeat speeders

Monthly update to police services board shows 'quite significant' jump in overall calls for service, but drop in provincial offence notices handed out, compared to 2022 numbers

Mediocre motoring continues to drive up calls to local police.

South Simcoe Police Service Deputy Chief Sheryl Sutton provided the monthly operational update for September during the police services board meeting at Innisfil Town Hall Oct. 25.

The operating report showed 2,419 total calls for service in September with 48.48 per cent in Bradford and 51.42 per cent in Innisfil.

That’s a “quite significant” increase from 1,992 in September 2022. But continuing the trend set in July and August, calls for service were down slightly compared to the same time in the most recent pre-pandemic year of 2019, which saw 2,484 calls that September.

“Twenty-nineteen is that year when all our stats were through the roof,” Sutton said, adding that 2023 is still on trajectory to produce similar numbers.

Nine months into 2023, the service had issued 3,693 provincial offence notices compared to 4,150 in all of 2022, many related to traffic.

Sutton presented some of the statistics from the automated speed cameras that have been issuing warning letters, and while the camera in Innisfil was not functioning last month, a section of Simcoe Road in Bradford with a speed limit of 50 km/h saw 414 vehicles exceeding the speed limit by 25 km/h or more between Sept. 1 and 25, including:

  • 374 travelling 75-85 km/h
  • 33 travelling 86-95 km/h
  • 4 travelling 96-100 km/h
  • 3 travelling faster than 100 km/h

Some of those included repeat offenders, including one person who Sutton said was caught speeding seven times with an average speed of 83 km/h. Another two were both caught four times at an average speed of 87 km/h.

That information is sent to the service’s uniform and traffic patrol officers so they can pay special attention to repeat offenders, according to Sutton.

“Those are staggering numbers,” Bradford Mayor James Leduc said, asking police to focus on “frequent flyers.”

Chief John Van Dyke explained that some of those offenders may have been charged, but that information wouldn’t be reflected in the statistical information from the speed camera.

September saw 132 motor vehicle collisions with 63 in Bradford and 69 in Innisfil. Out of all of those, 11 resulted in property damage and 16 resulted in injury, but none were fatal.

Sutton noted the intersection of West Park Avenue and Holland Street is consistently an area with the highest number of collisions in Bradford, while various intersections along Innisfil Beach Road are trouble spots in Innisfil.

Only 50 of the month’s calls for service were considered 'highest priority'.

There were some areas in which calls decreased in September 2023 compared to September 2022, including:

  • Shoplifting calls decreased to three from nine
  • Vehicles stolen decreased to nine from 15
  • Thefts from vehicles decreased to seven from nine
  • Residential break and enters decreased to four from six

However, there were other areas in which calls increased in September 2023 compared to the same month last year, including:

  • Provincial offence notices increased to 400 from 279
  • Commercial break and enters increased to five from none
  • Assaults increased to 11 from eight
  • Mental health calls increased to 20 from 17

Crisis calls were up slightly to 40 in September compared to 31 in August, with 10 of September's calls handled by the Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST), while 30 were handled by front-line officers.

Sutton had previously explained that the issue came down to timing, with many calls coming in at times when crisis workers weren’t available, and gave examples such as 11 p.m., 1 a.m., 3 a.m. and on weekends.

However, South Simcoe has been approved for the province’s Mobile Crisis Response Team Enhancement grant, which should help fund the service’s partners whose crisis workers join officers on COAST, she said.

While she couldn’t disclose the dollar value, Sutton explained York—Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney had plans to make an official announcement on Friday.

Wait times for officers offloading people at nearby hospitals also remained a strain on the service, averaging 2.2 hours at Barrie's Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre and 1.6 hours at Newmarket's Southlake Regional Health Centre.

Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin suggested working with the County of Simcoe’s paramedic services to see if there’s a way to reduce the amount of time officers spend waiting at hospitals, and Chris Gariepy, board chair, suggested quantifying the cost to police of having those officers tied up before taking other steps.

Leduc suggested working with Barrie and York Regional police to see if they are encountering similar problems and if they have found any solutions.

During the monthly update from the chief, Van Dyke detailed the various events attended by members of the service, highlighting that on Oct. 16, he attended a  vigil at Innisfil Town Hall in support of the local Jewish community in light of the Israel-Hamas war.

The conflict began after Hamas militants attacked Israel Oct. 7 and killed an estimated 1,300 people, including a number of Canadians attending the Re'im Music Festival in the Re’im kibbutz about five kilometres from the border with Gaza.

The chief noted that the service has also been supporting the local Jewish community as they celebrated their high holidays in September and had directed extra patrols to places of significance to both the Jewish and Islamic communities.

“Islamaphobia is alive and well in our country, unfortunately,” he said.

Michael Owen

About the Author: Michael Owen

Michael Owen has worked in news since 2009 and most recently joined Village Media in 2023 as a general assignment reporter for BradfordToday
Read more

Reader Feedback