PORT HOOD: RCMP Staff Sergeant Greg Redl was happy to tell local councillors that, generally speaking, Inverness County is still a pretty safe place.
“Everything is staying pretty steady,” Redl said, noting the district has seen a small increase in overall calls for service (5,045 in 2016-17 as opposed to 5,009 in 2015-2016) but a significant decrease in assaults and break and entries.
Redl, who transferred to the area after serving in Manitoba, was making his first appearance before council. His report detailed criminal activity in the county as it relates to cases of impaired driving, assaults, break and entries, and drug violations. He broke down the numbers seen at cop shops in Port Hawkesbury, Inverness, Cheticamp, and Waycobah.
His report looked at the last 12 months (2016-2017) as opposed to that same period during 2015-16.
Across the county, assaults are down from 204 to 167. The number of break and entries is also significantly down, from 132 to 63. Impaired driving cases are slightly up but not dramatically, moving from 164 to 170.
Only with drug-related offenses is there a significant increase in arrests, as 95 charges were laid in the last 12 months. That number was 68 in 2015-16.
Redl cautioned council against drawing conclusions about that.
“There’s been a lot more proactive work in the drug area,” he said. “I would strongly suggest that these numbers show an increase in enforcement and not an increase in drug activity.”
Councillor Jim Mustard said he was concerned about the recent investigation in Skye Glen where, as a result of a shooting, six kilograms of cocaine were discovered. The street value was in the ballpark of $500,000.
Redl said the discovery of the drugs was a surprise given that, while there are cocaine users in the area, there simply aren’t enough of them to warrant that much of the drug.
“I would suggest that wasn’t meant for our area,” he said. “To give you an idea, the average dose of cocaine would be about half a gram, meaning six kilograms would be 12,000 doses. We don’t have enough cocaine users in Inverness County to support that kind of thing.”
Redl said the drugs were most likely in transit to a larger area.
Other interesting trends from the RCMP report include a reduction of 263 calls for service in Inverness, an increase of 259 calls for service in Cheticamp, and a very small increase in calls for service in Port Hawkesbury (12) and Waycobah (28).
While the number of calls for service in Cheticamp is up, Redl said that might relate to an increased police presence in terms of check stops and traffic enforcement in that area. The numbers bear that out, as Cheticamp’s number of impaired driving cases is up (30 from 16) while the number of assaults dropped (26 to nine) and break and entries was also down (11 to five).
Redl added that all staffing positions in Inverness County are currently filled with the exception of one.