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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Police focus on 3rd Concession complaints in January

- there were 48 fewer calls for service in January of this year than January of 2020 -

by Sylene Argent

During the Essex Police Services Board meeting last Thursday, members of the committee learned overall, there were 48 fewer calls for service in January of this year than in January of 2020.

  Essex Staff Sergeant Mike Bradley gave an overview of the report the OPP prepared for the month of January 2021 for the Town of Essex, which noted traffic enforcement led the way with 29 calls for service.

  That was in direct relation with community concerns along the 3rd Concession with potential speeding and commercial motor vehicles disobeying weight restrictions on the road. In response to that, Bradley created a Focus Control and urged officers to enforce the rules there as a priority.

  The misconception with that stretch of road, he said, is that commercial motor vehicles are permitted to use it, so long as they are not loaded. Of the 29 calls, 12 were dedicated to patrolling that stretch of the 3rd Concession, which was a significant resource. The Traffic Management Unit was engaged and the MTO also conducted some enforcement in the area.

  The perception, he said, does not always match the reality. “Despite enforcement efforts, we did not find an epidemic of speeders or commercial motor vehicles contravening the weight restriction for that road. That is not to say it is not happening, it just may not be happening on the scale that we think it is…we are not going to ignore it,” Bradley said.

  This was an issue the community identified previously, and Bradley said the OPP is responsive to the community and will continue to work through the matter with concerned residents.

  The OPP conducted 27 property checks in January, which involved officers looking in on areas of concerns for community members. Eleven of the checks included businesses after hours that could be victims of break and enters, 12 were for parks and schools, and four property checks were conducted nearing Colchester Harbour.

  Mental Health continues to be a major focus for calls of service, Bradley added. With COVID, many are experiencing mental heath difficulties. As a result, the OPP received 18 calls for service in January. The majority were referred to the Mental Health Response Unit, which Bradley said is a wonderful service that frees up a lot of frontline officers for emergency calls for service.

  Call for this service can be looked at positively, as it could mean people are not being too shy to reach out for help if someone is in crisis.

  There were 13 false alarms in January, of which five were cancelled before police even got on scene.

  There were 13 domestic occurrence calls in January, which is typically a busier month for stressors in relationships, Bradley said. Of the occurrences, he said two resulted in criminal charges.

  There were 12 traffic complaints in Essex in January. Bradley said there was no discernible pattern with this cluster of calls for service. There were also 12 motor vehicle collisions, half of which involved a single car striking a deer. One collision of the dozen resulted in personal injury.

  Something the OPP is starting to see a little more of, Bradley said, is ambulance assist calls. There were ten in January. Of the ten, five were medical emergencies, where police get dispatched as well. The other five were from group homes that were looking for assistance from police in dealing with residents.       

  In January, nine calls were COVID-related. Five were related to businesses and four were related to residences. Of the nine, no charges were laid as they were either deemed unfounded or unsubstantiated.

  In regards to calls for service, there were 48 less in January of this year than January of 2020. This an about 11 percent decrease, Bradley said. There was decreases regarding: violent crime, with 20 occurrences in January of 2020 and seven in January of this year; property crime with 10 occurrences in January 2021 and 37 in January of 2020; and with motor vehicle collisions, with 12 in January of 2021 and 22 in January of 2020.

  Bradley noted there were no impaired and exceed offences in Essex in January of 2021. Essex was down around half in criminal code charges in January of 2021, with 16, compared to January of 2020, with 31. There was nothing to report regarding drug offences, he added.

  “Our Community Street Crimes Unit is very much engaged in combating the drug trade within Essex County,” Bradley said, just because there is a zero on the scoresheet, that does not mean the work is not being done to benefit the community.  

  In addition, Inspector Glenn Miller, Detachment Commander, said in the last two months, officers administered Naloxone 32 times and saved 27 lives across the province of Ontario. He added, officers have saved lives in the local community by administering Naloxone, which the OPP has had for a number of years.

  Chairperson of the Essex Police Services Board, Councillor Kim Verbeek, said she is grateful for the officers were able to save those lives.   

  He also mentioned across Canada, and the area, there have been a number of catalytic converter thefts. “It is extremely significant,” he said. “I know we have had two that have taken place that have been reported at least to police, within in the Town of Essex.”

  Some arrests have taken place in Essex County, and it is a priority for the OPP, Miller noted.

  Verbeek asked if additional foot patrols were planned for Big Hill Park, as she had heard concerns about possible drug deals going on there.

  “The community stepped up like they should, in a timely manner,” Verbeek said of a call she heard of going into the police regarding the matter.      

  Bradley said he put messaging out to his officers and communicated that police will continue to come back to the park.

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