August 13, 2013 - 5:00 AM
The Vernon RCMP is getting ahead of crime in the city, despite being short-handed.
Criminal code investigations of serious crimes were down over six per cent during the three months between April and June, 2013 and property crime was reduced 12.6 per cent when compared to the same quarter last year, according to stats given to Vernon city councillors by Insp. Jim McNamara, Vernon RCMP commander.
The RCMP's high profile downtown foot patrols kicked off in May. The officers have been patrolling the city's core, as well as checking the parks, beaches and other crime hotspots. One of the detachment's most successful efforts has been their Prolific Offender Program, which targets repeat offenders in the community—the ones who commit most of the crimes.
Once the list is made, the officer finds the individuals and lets them know they are being watched.
"Some of them aren't very happy with the special attention they get," McNamara says. "Our goal is to put them in jail or have them leave the community."
If there is a dark cloud in the quarterly report, it's the human resources issues plaguing the detachment. Like most other RCMP outfits in the country, they are working short staffed as officers go on leaves for one reason or the other.
"We are down 23 members right now," McNamara said. "It's been challenging for us in terms of human resources."
McNamara says this results in excessive overtime, insufficient vacation time, compounded fatigue and stress which in turn contributes to sick leave. However, he is nopt asking for more money to hire more officers.
"It's anticipated that incoming transfers and returns to duty from parental leave in the next few months will help," according to McNamara. He feels this will allow them to meet their budget obligations, their operational needs and provide his officers with some relief to keep them healthy.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013