GANDER, NL – Crime rates in Gander during its 2017 first quarter review – April 1 to June 30 – are down from the previous year, but it’s far from non-existent.
According to the Gander RCMP’s Calls for Service report, the detachment received 776 complaints over the three-month period. For the same period in 2016, the RCMP received 949 complaints. The detachment has attributed the noticeable gap between the two as a result of a significant decline in traffic offenses, which dropped by approximately 150 calls when compared to 2016. There were also slight declines in the number traffic accidents and crimes against persons.
While the report didn’t provide specific numbers, calls for impaired driving, provincial statues and crimes against properties were up. Crimes against properties received close to 150 calls.
There were six residential break and enters over the three months, up from four last year.
Resident Lana Gordon had two bikes - belonging to her son and daughter’s friend – stolen from her property last month.
“They were pretty sad about what happened,” she said.
Gordon said it points to an ongoing problem in Gander, adding the RCMP needs to place more focus on the smaller crimes taking place in the community.
“It’s not that they don’t take it serious, I respect the RCMP and what they do, but I don’t think enough effort is being put into the smaller crime taking place in our community,” she said.
Gordon is reminding residents to be cautious about leaving personal items outside.
“I think people should be more aware of unusual activity in their neighborhoods and keep an eye on their properties.”
Gander Staff Sargent Roger Flynn said having fluctuations in the numbers isn’t something to be alarmed about. While the issues largely revolve around Gander, the report includes information from the detachment’s coverage area – Benton, Appleton and Glenwood.
“Our calls for service are down, all our major categories, such as crimes against persons, those types of calls are lower or consistent with previous years,” he said. “As far as quarterly reports goes…I think we have to be realistic, we have a town of 14,000 people and there is going to be some crime, but we’re happy with where the numbers are and they are manageable.”
The biggest contributor to the rise in the quarter’s numbers is theft under $5,000, Flynn said, which largely comes from shoplifting at local stores.
“I think what’s happening, is a lot of businesses practice loss prevention, so it makes you wonder if there is more shoplifting taking place, or if more attention is being paid to it and more people are getting caught,” he said.
When it comes to protecting property, he’s reminding residents to report suspicious occurrences, keep properties well lit, make sure the property looks lived in if away, and keep an eye on neighbouring properties.