The Estevan Police Service experienced a slight increase for crime-related calls in April, but their overall call numbers were down last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to figures released at Thursday’s meeting of the Estevan board of police commissioners, local officers had 2,595 calls for service and infractions in the first four months of this year, down slightly from 2,614 from Jan. 1 to April 30 of last year, or about a .7 per cent decrease.
The decline in April came after an increase for the first three months of this year.
As for crime numbers, the EPS had 22 crimes against people in April, compared with 10 in April 2019. There were 18 assaults, two assaults causing bodily harm and two sex crimes last month.
So far this year, the EPS has had 56 crimes against people, with 45 assaults, seven sexual crimes and four assaults causing bodily harm.
The number of crimes against property dropped from 26 in 2019 to 22 this year. Mischief and wilful damage incidents (13) accounted for the bulk of crimes against property last month. They also had five thefts under $5,000, three residential break and enters and one theft of a motor vehicle classified as other.
So far this year, the EPS has had 110 crimes against property, led by 53 mischief/wilful damage complaints, 40 thefts under $5,000 and 10 residential break and enters.
The EPS laid six charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, with four for possession and two for trafficking. There were four CDSA charges in April 2019. So far this year, officers have laid nine charges for drug trafficking and eight for possession, for 17 in total.
Nine charges were laid for Criminal Code traffic violations in April, with eight for impaired driving and exceeding related offences, and one for dangerous driving or other. Seventeen Criminal Code traffic violations were issued in April of last year.
So far this year, 41 Criminal Code traffic violations have yielded charges, with 33 for impaired or exceeding by alcohol, five for impaired by drug and three for dangerous driving or other.
Police Chief Paul Ladouceur believes the quarantine measures associated with COVID-19 were responsible for the drop in call volumes. Fewer people were out on the roads last month, so fewer tickets were issued for speeding and other similar infractions.
Also, with bars closed, fewer people were arrested for public intoxication.
But the EPS has seen an increase in such crimes as assaults, sexual assaults and mischiefs.