Marijuana and crime, the hot topic today at the Durham Regional Police Services board meeting. Joe Scarpelli has a report.
He may be Durham’s Chief of Police, but that doesn’t prevent Paul Martin from being targeted by criminals.
“These CRA crimes…I got called myself, actually, and threatened to be arrested which I found quite amusing.”
In the first two thirds of the year, the number of reported crimes, is way up, the highest in years. Violent crimes, including assaults and sexual violations are up ten per cent. Property crimes including break and enters and fraud are up a whopping sixteen percent.
“It doesn’t look good when your reported crime goes up but as was pointed out today, I’d rather know about it and then we can deploy our resources appropriately and deal with that as opposed to not knowing about it and trying to guess.”
Durham police spokesperson Dave Selby says a factor that could possibly be playing a part in the rising numbers is that it’s now easier than ever for the public to report a crime…including the online reporting system.
“It is a concern to us though. We’re starting to take a look at the areas that are increasing like assaults for example and over the phone fraud and trying to do more to stop those.”
Selby says at this point, they’re not sure it’s a trend. He says it might just be six or seven months of data which could reverse itself by the end of the year. The board later went in-camera for one hour to discuss a Toronto Star article which accuses a Durham officer of co-owning a medical marijuana shop. The article claims, it’s all with the blessing of his force.
“I can’t speak about that in public because it is an employee-employer matter.”
Police say they can’t confirm any private dealings it’s had with a marijuana company or individual associated with it…