On Thursday November 1st, 2018, the Nipawin RCMP held their second Town Hall Meeting of the year, at the Codette Community Centre in Codette, SK.
Nipawin RCMP Cpl. Josh Martin, along with 4 other members of the Nipawin Detachment, managed to provide a wealth of information in the hour and a half long meeting. Topics covered included a in-depth explanation of crime statistics, The Cannabis Act and how it will impact local policing, several new and existing initiatives that have already made an impact in the region and how they will continue to improve the resources available to both Nipawin RCMP and other law enforcement entities, the Citizens on Patrol and Rural Crime Watch programs, as well as time spent taking questions from those attending.
Highlighting the fact that crime statistics are down for the area covered by the Nipawin RCMP Detachment, Cpl Martin emphasized that Nipawin is a safe place to live. So much so, that he and his wife Cpl Dana Martin chose to be transferred to Nipawin by persistently requesting it until their requests were finally granted, a choice they don’t regret.
While some area residents feel drugs are a problem, very few crimes involving drugs are reported
Over the 6 month period, only 17 reports were received in the Drug category, while 11 charges resulted in that same time period. (see report below) Cpl Martin emphasized that those reported are a number he would like to see get much higher.
He encourages residents that suspect or witness illegal drug use, or other drug related activity,to report it to the RCMP. Those wishing to remain anonymous can make a report through Saskatchewan Crimestoppers, by going to their website, or by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Cannabis Act will be helpful for law enforcement and fair for residents
Cpl Martin explained how the new Federal Cannabis Act is going simplify some of their duties and create fair treatment for area residents. The key point he made was that the Cannabis Act changes how they must address simple violations, such as a person being caught smoking cannabis in public. Prior to the enactment of the Cannabis Act on October 17, 2018, a person caught smoking cannabis in public faced charges under the Criminal Code. An example Cpl Martin gave compared catching two people in public, one with cannabis, the other with open alcohol. The person with the open alcohol faced only a ticket, while the one with marijuana had to be charged under the criminal code.
The Cannabis Act now means a ticket would be issued for use of marijuana in a public place, rather than the cumbersome process of pressing criminal charges. Under the new Saskatchewan regulations, “Consumption of cannabis in a public place, or any place other than a private place” is subject to a provincial fine of $200 for consuming. If the incident happens within designated areas in the Town of Nipawin, an additional fine of $75 can be faced by the individual, due to the towns recently enacted Smoking & Vaping Bylaw. Depending the situation, other fines can also be levied, such as if the person consuming is a minor, it’s $300. A complete list of the fines in Saskatchewan can be found here: Cannabis Use in Saskatchewan>Fines & Penalties
What can homeowners do to be safe and secure?
When asked by one resident what we can do to protect ourselves, both Cpl Josh Martin and Cpl Dana Martin made it clear that their concern was for the homeowners’ well being and safety. Using measures to avoid confrontation on any level was recommended by them, such as getting in your vehicle and fleeing to the neighbours to call 911 and stay safe.
One vital component to protect our homes and valuables Cpl Martin discussed was getting to know and keeping in touch with our neighbours. Knowing who drives what, when your neighbours are away and other details, gives us a way to protect ourselves before anything ever happens.
An excellent tip a local resident had, was an arrangement between neighbours to drive into each others driveways when one is away for an extended period of time. This idea prevents the untouched driveway, particularly in the winter, from becoming an invitation to would-be criminals and works similar to the old way of having a neighbour pick up your mail from a mailbox so it wouldn’t be obvious you were away.
Other ways recommended to protect yourself from property crimes include;
- Using yard lighting
- Keeping vehicles and buildings locked and valuables put away
- Installing home security and surveillance systems
- Let your neighbours know if you are going to be away for an extended period of time
Multiple Initiatives and Programs provide resources and tools for Nipawin RCMP now and into the future
Attendees were provided with some examples of the initiatives and programs the RCMP are currently utilizing and how they will help with future policing and law enforcement going forward.
From Conservation and Highway Patrol Officers to the Citizen on Patrol(COP) and Rural Crime Watch programs, as well as the SCAN and Provincial Crime Reduction Teams, Nipawin detachment is working with these resources to keep our communities safe.
A local COP has been started in Nipawin, those interested in participating in that program can contact the Nipawin RCMP office for more information.
While Nipawin and area communities do not have a Rural Crime Watch program in place, Cpl Martin encouraged anyone interested could start one. Rural Crime Watches are a resident driven program and require volunteers to get one going.
One, fairly new initiative that Nipawin will benefit from is the Crime Reduction Task Force. Already making a difference in Prince Albert and North Battleford areas, these teams come into an area, and take the “Most Wanted” list and “clean-up”. Efforts will include targeting “priority offenders” and members from these teams will be at their door every day.
More details about these programs are provided below.
Gun issues a minor point in the evening’s discussion
Despite other region’s residents having a lot of tough questions for RCMP on using guns for personal protection, attendees at the Nipawin meeting appeared to be far less concerned than residents in those other parts of the province. The topic was touched upon and Cpl Martin reminded everyone that each situation is different and the RCMP can not give advice based on hypothetical situations.
On behalf of concerns raised to me by some of my readers, I was the one to asked Cpl Martin to address the concern that some gun owners feel that calling the RCMP to report a crime could result in the loss of their guns. Cpl Martin was quite clear in stating that the only actions they would take would be those mandated by law. An example of such laws might be that if they attend and witness unsafe storage of weapons or ammunition, they are required to take action, but such action may not mean a total loss and destruction of a homeowners collection. As he mentioned before, each situation is different. Ensuring guns and ammunition are properly stored, as well as the owner’s firearms license kept up to date, are steps gun owners can take to ensure they do not encounter issues, should the RCMP need to attend their residence.
Proper storage and record keeping for gun owners was also emphasized when the question of gun theft was posed. Keeping track of serial numbers and gun descriptions, even if it is with photographs, is huge benefit should your guns ever be stolen. It helps the gun owner by increasing the chance of getting their guns returned, as well as helping RCMP when arrests are made and the arrested party has guns in their possession believed to be stolen.
Overall a positive meeting
After the RCMP Town Hall Meeting wrapped up, Nipawin detachment members took time to discuss concerns with, and get to know, those attending. Overall the evening was a clear demonstration of our local detachment’s commitment and dedication to our region and a reminder that they are not only our law enforcement, but our neighbours as well.
For those who could not attend or are looking for more information about the topics and initiatives discussed at the meeting, I have included extensive information and resources.
In-depth Look at Some of the Topics Covered at the Nipawin RCMP Town Hall
Nipawin & Smeaton RCMP Detachments use extensive resources to cover a very large area effectively
The area Nipawin and Smeaton detachments cover stretch all the way from Meath Park in the west, up to Lower Fishing Lake area in the north, including Candle Lake, south to Gronlid, and Alysham, and east of Nipawin as well.
Nipawin RCMP has 11 members, one Staff Sergeant, one Corporal and 9 Constables. Smeaton has 4 members, one Corporal and 3 Constables. They currently have one vacancy in Nipawin, however a replacement has been named and is due to transfer in in the spring.
Nipawin detachment, and the Smeaton detachment, which works under the umbrella of Nipawin, also have the assistance of additional resources that aid both detachments in the task of policing the region.
- Crime Reduction Teams(CRT) – As announced on June 15, 2018, – The Ministry of Corrections and Policing is providing roughly $1.6 million to the RCMP to permanently expand the Crime Reduction Team (CRT) initiative in Saskatchewan. This funding will be used for 14 full-time team members made up of 10 police officers and four support staff. Funding for these positions is provided through the Provincial Policing Services Agreement, which funds 70 per cent of all RCMP positions in Saskatchewan. These additional staff will comprise two permanent CRTs—one operating out of Prince Albert and one operating out of North Battleford—that will be established this fall. The RCMP will maintain a temporary CRT to ensure enforcement activities continue until the permanent teams are operational. The CRT initiative began as a pilot program in early February. Since being established, it has executed 193 arrest warrants dealing with 384 Criminal Code charges. This includes charges against 26 known gang members and affiliates.
- SCAN – Safe Neighbourhoods and Communities – The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act is intended to empower residents to take back their neighbourhoods by reporting problem residences or businesses that are habitually used for illegal activities. These activities could include drugs, prostitution, gang or criminal activities, child sexual abuse or the unlawful sale or consumption of alcohol. If you are suspicious of a property in your neighbourhood, do not investigate it yourself or approach the occupants. Please call the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Investigation Unit immediately. There is an Investigation Unit in both Saskatoon and Regina. Regina toll free number: 1-866-51-SAFER Saskatoon and Prince Albert toll free number: 1-855-933-6411 You may also fill out the form on their website and submit it online*
- Citizens On Patrol – Citizens On Patrol (C.O.P.) is a group of citizens who participate in a community based crime prevention program in co-operation with the local law enforcement agency. Through observation, documentation and reporting, members of Citizens On Patrol provide a presence in their community while patrolling by vehicle, on foot, by bicycle or other means. C.O.P. are educated volunteers who increase the awareness of suspicious and dangerous or unusual activities happening in the community.* For More information on the Nipawin COP you can call the Nipawin Detachment non-emergency number at 306-862-6270
- Rural Crime Watch – Rural Crime Watch is a community driven, community led, police supported Crime Prevention, Crime Reduction collaborative program. Volunteers: Observe-Record-Report to their local detachment any unusual or suspicious activities in their surroundings. The RCMP will inform the Rural Crime Watch group when there is criminal activity in the area. Starting a Rural Crime Watch: Initial contact when organizing a Rural Crime Watch is through the RCMP Detachment in your area. Liaison Officers from the Detachment area will be named to work with the Rural Crime Watch. Boundaries may differ from place to place. This may mean it could be the whole Detachment boundary, or it could be the Rural Municipality (R.M.) you live in.
- Town of Nipawin By-Law Enforcement Officer – Many traffic and community related violations within the town of Nipawin can be enforced by the town’s By-Law Enforcement Officer(s). Infractions such as speeding, illegal U-turns, illegal parking are just a few incidents that can be enforced by By-Law Enforcement Officer(s).
- Protection and Response Team (PRT)– In August 2017, the provincial government created a Protection and Response Team which included Conservation Officers (CO’s) and members of the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol, RCMP and various other law enforcement agencies. The goal of the PRT is to:
- Improve police response to emergency calls for services, including property crimes that are in progress;
- Enhance uniform visibility and presence in rural Saskatchewan;
- Increase the enforcement of drug trafficking on Saskatchewan’s roadways; and
- Enhance the safety of roads by reducing the number of serious collisions and fatalities.
- SGI Camera cars – SGI has funded 138 automated licence plate readers (ALPRs) for the RCMP, Community Safety Officer (CSO) program, Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan (CTSS), municipal police agencies, Ministry of the Environment, and Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure. Automated licence plate readers use infra-red technology to scan licence plates as police are driving around, and alert them when the plate is linked to a stolen or unregistered vehicle, a suspended driver, a reported impaired driver, or even a person wanted by police.*
Community Policing Report shows decreases in reported crimes
Those in attendance where provided with a copy of the detachment’s statistics, from April to October 2018, including a comparison to the same time frame in 2017.
|Nipawin Detachment Policing Report |
|Total Personal Crimes||168||211||-20.4%|
|Total Property Crimes||320||344||– 7%|
|Total Criminal Code||604||800||-24.5%|
|Total Provincial Traffic||306||399||-23.3%|
|Calls For Service||1288||1401||– 8%|
A further breakdown was part of the report, and Cpl Martin guided the attendees through it, explaining things they needed to know to understand it’s significance. He reminded everyone that each of the categories is a mix of different offenses and that each situation is different. In many case a call out for the RCMP does not mean it will result in grounds for someone being charged.
Some examples given included assaults, where two parties where involved and neither wishes to press charges, or cases where they are called to well being check on a person, whose family is concerned about them.
|Nipawin Detachment Policing Report|
April to October 2018
|Break & Enter||40||3|
|Theft Motor Vehicle||23||3|
|Theft over $5,000||3||1|
|Theft under $5,000||96||13|
|Mischief Over $5,000||0||0|
|Mischief Under $5,000||96||13|
|Have Stolen Goods||4||3|
|Other Criminal Code||156||97|
|Other Provincial Statutes||384||31|
|Assist General Public||78||0|
|Criminal Record Index Checks||—|
- Cannabis Use in Saskatchewan>Fines & Penalties
- Cannabis Use in Saskatchewan
- Town of Nipawin Smoking & Vaping Bylaw
- Saskatchewan Crimestoppers
- SCAN – Safe Neighbourhoods and Communities
- Citizens On Patrol
- SGI Camera cars
- Crime Reduction Teams(CRT)
- SCAN – Safe Neighbourhoods and Communities
- The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act
- Protection and Response Team (PRT)
- Rural Crime Watch
- Town of Nipawin Bylaws