Yellowknife was significantly quieter for RCMP and bylaw officers in 2017, at least statistically, according to newly published figures.
Calls for service to the Yellowknife RCMP detachment fell by 14 percent from 2016 to 2017. Occurrences and violations reported by municipal enforcement fell by 17 percent in the same period.
It’s the second successive year for which both the RCMP detachment and municipal enforcement have reported fewer incidents.
Data for the previous year is presented to city councillors each January. Figures for 2017 are supplied with the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the city’s municipal services committee.
Changes in reporting mechanisms can have an effect on how these statistics change, year on year. However, some sizeable differences between 2016 and 2017 are apparent in the detail of each report.
RCMP say occurrences relating to the Liquor Act dropped from 1,662 in 2016 to 1,368 in 2017, a fall of around 18 percent. The figure for causing a disturbance or mischief – which includes public intoxication – is down from 4,609 occurrences to 4,193, a nine percent decrease.
Of the 12 categories contained in the RCMP report, only two exhibit any meaningful increase: cases of impaired driving were up 16 percent, and the figure for drug trafficking rose 30 percent from 48 to 62 occurrences. (Drug possession, by contrast, dropped from 71 occurrences to 51, around a 30 percent decrease.)
Municipal enforcement data for 2017 shows a marked drop in violations, which includes all tickets issued for parking or vehicle offences.
There were 14,874 violations recorded in 2016 but only 12,147 in 2017. The vast majority of violations are parking tickets for expired meters – only 7,249 such tickets were issued in 2017 compared to 10,328 a year earlier, representing a 30 percent drop. The figure suggests that in 2017, around 20 vehicles were ticketed for an expired meter each day.
Among the thousands of other violations recorded are some unlikely candidates: in 2017, two people received tickets for driving on the left-hand side of the road (which, notably, is the correct side in Japan). Only one noise violation was recorded all year, and bylaw officers were called out 12 times for people camping on public land.
Incidents relating to dog bites and dog cruelty rose significantly year-on-year. Municipal enforcement handled 49 occurrences relating to dog bites in 2017, up from 28 in 2016, and dog cruelty occurrences rose from 12 to 20.
The reports are not designed to provide any detailed analysis of the year-on-year trends they present, but Yellowknife RCMP did allude to some factors which may have resulted in fewer calls for service.
Reporting on December’s figures, detachment commander Matt Peggs wrote that RCMP continued to rely on services provided by the sobering centre and street outreach van “on a daily basis.” Those programs only began operations in July 2017.
Peggs added that a pilot project named Integrated Case Management, spanning a number of territorial departments, had contributed to the reduction in calls for service. Integrated Case Management gives “high-risk clients” – who are experiencing homelessness, poverty, mental health issues and other challenges – direct access to staff who can develop and implement specialist support for them.