Greater Trail only saw four drug investigations in the third quarter of this year, which the detachment commander says is the fewest he has ever seen.
In presenting third quarter crime statistics to Trail council last week, Sgt. Mike Wicentowich said the figure “has a lot do” with the decriminalization of certain drugs this year. There were 16 drug cases during the same period last year.
The difference, he explained, was that previously anyone with illicit drugs could be arrested. They might not be charged, but sometimes those arrests for possession could lead to the seizure of guns, more drugs, or the execution of search warrants.
Now he said the law prevents them from making such arrests except in restricted circumstances. As a result, drug investigations are more complicated and can involve “quite a bit of effort, surveillance, sometimes undercover purchases of drugs, search warrants, and wiretaps.”
“These are complicated and expensive techniques that require resources,” Wicentowich said. “We have done them before.”
He said when he first started with the detachment they did a three-month operation with good success and he would like to repeat that, but it will take “money, time, and energy that is currently not available.”
Wicentowich said staffing at the local detachment remains low, although an officer starts this week who should be with them for a few months to help out and another mature recruit will arrive in about a week. He expects more people to arrive in 2024.
As of this month, Trail became a “divisional priority” for staffing, he explained, providing for a “much smoother transition” for anyone who wants to transfer here. He encouraged anyone who has a relative in the RCMP to let them know it’s a good time to come home or to try Trail out.
“Officers who want to come here love the outdoors and small town life with big town benefits,” he said, adding that housing is still relatively affordable.
“I do hope to attract that kind of person here, the one that wants rural policing and big adventures in the outback or a great place to raise their kids.”
Aside from drugs, Wicentowich said the third-quarter stats were “fairly consistent.” Assaults, sexual offences, robberies, and auto thefts were about the same.
Thefts from motor vehicles stood at eight, continuing a drastic drop over the last few years. Wicentowich said they were as high as 60 or 70 per quarter when he started.
“The campaign to get people to lock their doors and remove valuable has really worked,” he said. “I’m proud of us as a city for pulling that off.”
Overall criminal code files were down 76 and total calls for service were also down slightly, but Wicentowich said it was within the normal range of fluctuation.