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Motorists take note... RIDE programs can pop up anywhere

Police are tackling traffic complaints with small-scale RIDE and radar checks.
20171119 RIDE Check KA
FILE PHOTO Kenneth Armstrong/Village Media

The statistics show that calls are up in almost every category of crime in South Simcoe.

Deputy Chief Robin McElary-Downer was going over the stats for members of the Bradford West Gwillimbury-Innisfil Police Services Board (PSB), earlier this week.

The records show that thefts of motor vehicles up by 71 percent year-over-year, collisions are up by 19 percent, alcohol and drug apprehensions up by 40 percent.

The increase in apprehensions of drinking and drug-impaired drivers is related to another statistic, McElary-Downer noted: R.I.D.E. programs are up by 154 percent in 2019.

It reflects the South Simcoe Police Service’s change in strategy. Rather than large-scale, formal R.I.D.E. programs, officers are now carrying out more informal, brief checkpoints, whenever they are between calls.

“It might last 30 minutes, it might last 15 minutes,” said the Deputy Chief, but the new strategy has been effective.

Equally effective has been directing police response to areas where complaints have been received from the public. A recent radar check in Cookstown, where speeding has been an ongoing issue, resulted in 30 traffic tickets issued within a 90-minute radar check – and praise from the residents.

There was one statistic continues to be concerning. Not only were 911 calls up by 16 percent, 911 hang-up calls and misdials were up by 114 percent, despite ongoing education efforts.

“It’s sad to see that constantly,” said PSB chair Licinio Miguelo, “despite the campaigns.”

Another category that has shown a major rise: sexual offences. In BWG and Innisfil, the cases are up 103 percent year-to-date, comparing 2018 and 2019, said McElary-Downer – in part reflecting strong investigations.

The statistics include a case of human trafficking in both Innisfil and BWG, and child-luring of a victim in Saskatoon, by an Innisfil male who has since been arrested, his computers seized. Both cases are “still under investigation,” said the Deputy Chief.

Police also investigated two forcible confinement cases, in Bradford – resulting from a complaint filed by an escort.

The woman went to a Bradford home to provide “a service,” but was subsequently confined by the client. “He robbed her, he assaulted her, and made it very clear she was not getting out of the basement,” said McElary-Downer.

The woman escaped, and took her complaint to police, who investigated and charged the male, publishing a press release. The release led to the filing of a second complaint by another woman.

It’s significant, said McElary-Downer, because it shows that “regardless of the business you’re in, if you’re a victim, we will support you.”

Miriam King

About the Author: Miriam King

Miriam King is a journalist and photographer with Bradford Today, covering news and events in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil.
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