Pubdate: Thu, 22 Oct 2009
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Sun Media
Author: Daniel Pearce, Staff Writer


Local police are reporting a drop in crime -- everything from drug
charges to break and enters to robberies is on a downward trend.

Assaults and domestics are on the increase, however.

Norfolk OPP Inspector Zvonko Horvat said he attributes the decline to
police developing strategies that target crimes that are on the
upswing or tend to spike at certain times of the year.

After a rash of car thefts in Norfolk, Brant, and Haldimand, for
example, police from those jurisdictions formed "project heist" to
tackle the problem.

As a result, vehicle thefts in Norfolk for the first nine months of
this year are down by 40%. They dropped from 103 last year to 60. In
2007, they numbered 90.

Strategies include targetting patrols, increasing RIDE checks, and
conducting public education programs.

"When people see the flashing lights going through town and catch on
there are more patrols, they are more reluctant to engage in
activity," Horvat said.

Assaults and domestics continue to increase.

"With assaults and domestics, we've had a bit of a spike over the last
three years," said Horvat.

Last year, police and social service agencies said they expected these
crimes to go up as the economy worsened and people became more stressed.

"Substance abuse plays a part in it as well," said

Heidy VanDyk, residential program manager for Haldimand-Norfolk
Women's Services and a municipal councillor for Simcoe, said the
group's shelter remains full most of the time.

"Our numbers are staying pretty consistent, but they are high," said
VanDyk. "Anecdotally, we are seeing clients who use our services who
are reporting extreme financial difficulty.

"We are hearing from women who say 'I have lost my job' or 'My husband
has lost his job.' It is a contributing factor."

Norfolk is in a region that has unemployment in excess of 12%, one of
the highest rates in the province.

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Crimes investigated between January and September this year, with 2008
and 2007 figures in brackets:

Drug: 88 (130, 134)
Break and Enter: 178 (213, 250)
Fraud: 98 (115, 83)
Mischief: 549 (599, 547)
Vehicle theft: 60 (103, 90)
Theft: 427 (495, 457)
Robberies: 5 (10, 11)
Impaired driving: 112 (142, 103)
Counterfeit: 15 (28, 15)
Fatal collisions: 4 (7, 5)
All collisions: 694 (824, 840)
Assaults: 394 (360, 276)

No year over year figures for domestics were available.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr