By Mark Squibb/May 12, 2022
The number of folks calling their local RCMP attachments around the Avalon continues to drop — although the police are unsure as to why.
During last week’s Conception Bay North Joint Council Meeting, police representatives said that calls for service to both Harbour Grace and Bay Roberts detachments continue to remain below last year’s numbers.
“We’re actually scratching our heads about that,” said Sgt. Kenny Maher. “I do know that last year when we were running stats for these periods, we had a spike. And I think it was because we were getting into the second year of COVID. It seemed like our calls for service went through the roof last spring. Normally we see a bit of a lull in the winter and spring months and then in the summer it starts picking up. But last year it just stayed steady during the whole year. So, I’m hoping that maybe last year was a ‘one-off’ and we’re starting to head back to our normal numbers. I think this would be more consistent with the 2020 statistics.”
The Harbour Grace detachment has received 979 calls for service thus far in 2022. Year to date in 2021, the detachment had received 1,264, marking a decrease of 285 calls from last year.
In April alone, the detachment received 242 calls. In April of 2021, the detachment received 342 calls, a difference of 100 calls.
The Bay Roberts detachment has received 769 calls to date. This time last year, the detachment had received 1,015.
“So, we’re seeing a decrease of about 246 calls for service,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.
In April, the detachment received 178 calls for service. That again is down from last April, when police received 269 calls.
Among the calls for service received by the Harbour Grace detachment there were 30 crimes against persons, 11 impaired drivers (resulting in three charges, and one charge which remains pending the arrival of lab results), seven mental health calls, nine collisions (two of which included injuries, and the other seven which resulted in property damage) and nine offroad vehicle complaints.
Files of note included an April 11 incident when a 15-year-old on an ATV fled from police in Bristol’s Hope.
“Basically, a young kid took off on his back tires down the main road,” said Sgt. Kenny Maher.
Officers didn’t pursue, as the young person wasn’t wearing a helmet, but officers could identify him based on video recordings.
“We paid him and his parents a visit the following week, and his ATV is seized and going to be held until the court matter is dealt with,” said Sgt. Maher. “We’re asking the Crown for forfeiture on that one.”
A drug unit from St. John’s was also in town giving presentations at Carbonear Grade 9 classes, with the intention of returning to offer further talks, and gave a presentation to the Harbor Grace fire department.
In Bay Roberts, police recorded 15 crimes against persons, one impaired driving resulting in charges, 10 mental health calls and 10 collisions, two which resulted in injuries and eight which resulted in property damage, including one moose collision.
Cpl. O’Donaghey also reported some files of note.
On April 8 there was a report of a theft of a motor vehicle from the carpool parking lot in Bay Roberts.
Later that day a burned-out car was located 14 kilometres off Country Road.
“We believe the vehicles are one and the same, and are working to confirm that, and are investigating that fire as an arson at this point.”
On April 11, police received reports of a vehicle on the roadway having a number of near misses with other vehicles and almost causing a number of collisions.
“We located that vehicle, conducted a traffic stop, and determined the driver to be impaired, and before we could arrest that individual, they sped away,” said Cpl. O’Donaghey. “We sought out additional support from some of our surrounding units from the Avalon East, Placentia Whitbourne, and even our Police Dog services. We did locate that vehicle after more complaints came in that it was traveling in the oncoming lanes of the TransCanada towards Whitbourne, then it resulted in an incident where this driver sped towards one of our unmarked police vehicles and rammed that police truck. The individual and the officer weren’t injured in that incident, but there are of course a number of charges pending on that matter.”
On April 24, police responded to a report of a fire in Cupids — and were back at the home the very next day as the fire rekindled.
The cause of the fire is not believed to be arson. Cpl. O’ Donaghey said police also worked with Wildlife officers to tranquilise and capture a polar bear that had visited the area last month.