Stephen Vance, Staff
Grey County OPP Detachment Commander Inspector Michael Guilfoyle presented his second quarter report to Meaford’s council at their July 18 meeting, and the news he passed along was mostly good news.
Guilfoyle told council that violent crime in the municipality is down compared to the first two quarters of last year, as are most crime categories, with notable exceptions in the break and enter and fraud categories.
Thus far in 2016 Meaford has seen a 1,200 percent increase in break and enter incidents with 13 in the first six months of 2016 while the same period in 2015 saw just one break and enter.
The municipality has also seen a significant increase in frauds reported to police with 21 cases reported thus far in 2016 compared to 15 in the same period last year, an increase of 40 percent.
“(Fraud) statistics seem to be going up in every one of my five municipalities that my officers police,” Guilfoyle told council. “A number of those are Canada Revenue Agency frauds, and other online frauds, and unfortunately we’ve had a number of individuals both in the Municipality of Meaford, and in Grey County, that have sent money via wire transfer to these individuals who are generally located in another country.”
Drug crimes have remained similar to last year with just three cases so far this year – two for possession of drugs, and one for importation and production.
Highway Traffic Act offences have decreased by nearly 40 percent compared to the first two quarters of last year, including impaired driving offences which have decreased 43 percent this year, with 32 charges compared to 56 in the same period last year.
“We had a high number of impaired driving charges in Grey County last year, and even though there’s a reduction, 32 charges to date given the availability of other modes of transportation, and the messaging that’s out there, it’s still significantly high in my opinion,” Guilfoyle told council.
Guilfoyle noted that distracted driving charges have decreased by a substantial 77 percent with just 33 charges so far this year compared to 144 in the same period last year. Police forces across the province have been warning drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, particularly the use of mobile phones while driving in recent years, and the statistics for 2016 seem to indicate that the message is reaching drivers.
Though the number of charges are reduced, Guilfoyle suggested that is in part due to drivers becoming better at hiding their use of mobile devices while driving.
Inspector Guilfoyle also told council that overall, calls for service have decreased in 2016 with 640 calls for service in the first two quarters of the year compared to 805 last year.
“The overall calls for service so far in the municipality are trending downwards; it looks like trending down on a 10 percent average right now,” informed Inspector Guilfoyle.
If the calls for service continue to trend downwards, the municipality could see reductions in their policing costs in future years.