Promising crime statistics for North Bay
NORTH BAY -- They are promising numbers according to North Bay police officials after both June and July show a decline in some areas of crime in the city.
"We did see a drop in some areas; 30, 50, 70 per cent in some of our crime statistics, which is really positive to see," said North Bay Police Service Deputy Chief Michael Daze.
Daze says break, enter and theft, as well as robberies, saw about a 30 per cent decline with many other areas like vehicle and bike theft also showing a drop.
"We still see an increase in calls to service, but when we see some of those crime rates dropping, that's a positive sign," said Daze.
He said that the reason behind the decline isn't confirmed yet, but he has a few ideas on why the city is seeing some positive change.
"When we look to see what's happened, what are some of the reasons? We did initiate some different programs and revamp some programs back into North Bay that's previously been here," said Daze.
Police say both the bike and foot patrol programs were a huge success this summer and helped make officers more visible and engaged in the community, a fact that North Bay Mayor Al McDonald agrees with.
"If you look at their foot patrol, you look at their bike patrol, you look at the initiatives that the chief put in place for the break and enters, you look at the mental health and addictions piece, we're taking proactive steps as a police service," said McDonald. "But, we recognize that that's taking place in our city, just like any other city. But I think the difference in our city is our police services are very progressive and they're putting those plans in place."
The bike patrol program was reintroduced this summer after e-bikes were donated to the service. There are two officers trained in each of the four platoons in the city.
"It's allowed our bike patrol officers to actively and proactively patrol the entire city instead of just focusing on the downtown core," said Daze. "So they've been able to get to a lot of different places. For these officers to get out and engage the public in a different manner, they've had some really good experiences."
He adds that the bike patrol has about one month left before the weather turns too cold and the program will be shut down until next summer. However, he says community engagement will continue to be a priority.
"It's not really a subtraction of the programs," said Daze. "I think we have to look and say 'how do we deliver that community engagement piece through the winter months?' So there are still times we can engage on foot patrol. There are still times we're able to park our vehicles, get out and be proactive and engage."
Even with the bike patrol ending and foot patrol becoming less frequent, McDonald isn't concerned.
"We kind of look at the stats from all the different seasons too and there's no question that the bikes and foot patrol won't be out there quite as much, but neither is crime because it's kind of cold too," the mayor said. "I know that sounds funny, but that's actually true. But I think it's all the initiatives that are being put in place from a community policing perspective of our officers being out there, working with the community, that's going to make a difference."
Overall, both police and city officials are happy and encouraged by the latest numbers.
"I was pleased to see, again, the break and enters being reduced through June and July and to see that our clearance rates were up to 75 per cent from a yearly perspective," said Daze. "That was positive to see as been reported on. We've talked about over the last year. We've seen an increase in break and enters, so to have a time where we have a decrease, is a positive trend and one I hope we continue to see over the coming months."