The Staff Sergeant for Steinbach RCMP this week presented a generally positive annual report to city council. Harold Laninga told council that statistics were down in 2017 from 2016 in most categories. He says this includes impaired driving.
"I'm kind of pleased to say that impaired driving was down from 62 charges in 2016 to 44 in 2017. I say kind of pleased because by no means do I believe that we've put a stop to this problem. Impaired driving continues to be an issue in this area, it has already been this year. Traffic accidents, the ones that we're attending, are also down. I'm pleased to see that traffic offence notices are up from 567 to 744. So, with respect to traffic, that goes a long way towards our visibility initiative."
But Laninga says it remains a big concern that so many people are still using cell phones while driving.
"As you probably saw on Steinbachonline and the other media outlets, we issued 130 tickets just in the month of April related to cell phone use (while driving) just within the City of Steinbach, an incredible number and a disappointing number. But it's a number that tells me we just have to keep on using enforcement. It seems to be the only thing that is, hopefully, going to work."
He adds there are also far too many accidents in Steinbach, something they are trying to address through stricter traffic enforcement. Laninga explains that includes patrolling intersections to make sure people stop and cracking down on speeding and other infractions that lead to accidents.
Laninga notes most property crimes were down last year except for mischief to property which is something RCMP are working hard to reduce.
"These are a lot of petty crimes but I think the victims would never consider them a petty crime and it drives me nuts. It's definitely something that I would like to get to zero and we continue to work at that."
And he says crystal meth remains an issue Steinbach as addicts frequently steal money and other items to feed their habits.
"Unfortunately, meth is relatively cheap. It's about ten dollars to be high for a day. It's a long high, about 12 hours. So, unfortunately, we are finding that youth are going into vehicles, stealing some cash, the petty crime stuff and using that for meth. So, absolutely, we're seeing the effects of meth within our community. Even shoplifting and things like that have seen an increase and that's directly related to meth in our community."
However, Laniga noted that drug offences in Steinbach declined last year to 57 compared to 64 a year earlier.