Pubdate: Wed, 03 May 2017
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Sun Media
Author: Monte Sonnenberg
Page: A1


The Norfolk OPP's Street Team is mowing down drug dealers in 2017 with
such precision that a senior member of the force wonders why criminals
even bother.

The local force mounted 24 drug-related investigations through the
first three months of this year. All but one resulted in arrests and

"People aren't getting the message," Staff Sgt. Joe Varga said at last
week's meeting of Norfolk's Police Services Board. "If you are going
to do this in Norfolk County, you're going to get caught."

The street team was brought together several years ago following
complaints that users and dealers were openly doing business in
downtown Simcoe. A wave of busts and arrests followed and the illicit
activity went back underground.

The Street Team has an undercover component. It has proven effective
in infiltrating narcotics networks in Simcoe and surrounding area.

Varga made his remarks during a review of crime statistics in Norfolk
through the end of March. There was little to report in March and in
the first quarter of 2017 in general to suggest anything of
significance has changed relative to the first quarter of previous

There was a "statistically significant" spike in minor thefts from
motor vehicles in Norfolk in January. However, the incidence of this
crime in February and March returned to normal levels.

A total of 21 minor thefts from vehicles were reported in Norfolk in
January. This compares with six in January of 2016 and six in January
of 2015.

Through the first three months of 2017, Norfolk OPP received 37
reports of minor theft from vehicles. As a quick crime of opportunity
often occurring after dark, this is a tough problem to police. Through
the first three months of 2015, 2016, and 2017 the Norfolk OPP made
only one arrest for this crime. In the area of "violent crime," the
Norfolk OPP investigated 84 cases through the first three months of
this year. Charges were laid in 76 of these cases.

The rate of violent crime in Norfolk through the first quarter is
consistent with the rate for the same periods in 2016 and 2015.

In Norfolk, "violent crime" is defined as homicides, other offences
resulting in death, attempted murder, sexual assaults, abduction,
common assaults and robbery.

On a positive note, the Norfolk OPP registered a "statistically
significant" decline in the number of false 911 calls and hang-ups in

The force fielded 83 bogus 911 calls last month. This compares with
114 bogus calls in March of last year and 149 bogus calls in March,

Falls 911 calls occur when someone accidentally hits 911 on speed-
dial or as mischief calls from pranksters.

March's decline might have something to do with the PSB sounding the
alarm over false 911 communications last month.

PSB chair Peter Hellyer of Simcoe noted that the time and effort
required to follow up these alarms cost the Norfolk force about $
300,000 in 2016. That, Hellyer said, is enough to put two front-line
officers in the field full-time for one year.
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