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Annual Peterborough police report highlights overall rise in city’s crime rate

Peterborough’s overall crime rate increased last year, including more reports of break and enters and drug offences in the downtown core, according to the Peterborough Police Service’s annual report.

Released on Thursday, the report highlights police service efforts for the calendar year. The report found that for the third year in a row, calls for service declined. In 2018, police received 31,246 calls, down 0.8 per cent from 2017.

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However, reported crimes were up 5.7 per cent from 2017 “largely due to a significant increase in fraud incidents and bail violations,” the report states.

The overall crime rate increased in 2018 to 5.7 per cent, or 286 calls for service, compared to 2017, while violent crime decreased by 5.3 per cent, according to the report.

Peterborough police also saw a 60 per cent decrease in homicides (one homicide, one attempt), a 6.8 per cent increase in assaults (546 incidents), a 22.1 per cent decrease in sexual assaults (127 incidents), a 19.7 per cent decrease in break and enters (248 incidents) and a 55.6 per cent increase in frauds (456 incidents).

Police also received 82 calls for service related to drugs (down from 108 in 2017), which led to 57 arrests and 254 charges laid. Of those incidents, 2,349 grams of cocaine was the largest quantity of drugs seized, while 103 grams of heroin and fentanyl, $95,000 in cash and three handguns were also seized.

“Our service continues to have one of the best clearance rates — or rate of crime solved — in the province at 60.7 per cent compared to the provincial average of 42.3 per cent in 2017 and the national average of 39.4 per cent in 2017,” the report reads.

Area 1, the downtown core, had 16 officers patrolling the jurisdiction in 2018, eight of them on foot patrol. The report says the main focus for Area 1 was persons consuming alcohol in public areas, being a general nuisance and youth congregating at George and Brock streets.

The report indicates that in 2018, Area 1 had 6,732 calls for service. The area saw a 73.7 per cent decrease in robberies, a 20.4 per cent increase in break and enters, a 17.9 per cent decrease in sex offences, a 9.7 per cent increase in drug offences and an 8.4 per cent increase in assaults.

Area 2, which is bordered by Murray Street to the north and Brock Street to the south, had the highest reported crime calls and calls for service last year, according to the report.

“Due to the close proximity of various community organizations supporting vulnerable members of our community, there is a constant congregation of marginalized individuals in the area of Victoria Park and the intersection at Brock Street and George Street,” the report reads. “An Area 2 officer was instrumental in understanding the issues and the concerns of the stakeholders in the area and in attempting to find a solution.”

The report indicates that, in 2018, Area 2 had:

Area 3, which comprises the city’s west end, saw no increase in calls for service in 2018. The service noted efforts by officers and Peterborough Fire Services to shut down a rooming house following “numerous” complaints about residents and activities at the Bolivar Street residence.

The report indicates that, in 2018, Area 3 had:

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Area 4, which includes the city’s southeast end, saw police focus on traffic enforcement and education regarding school safety zones, in particular in the Bensfort and River roads areas. Police noted routine patrols of a new green space resulted in a sharp decrease in calls for service to the area in 2018.

The report indicates that, in 2018, Area 4 had:

Area 5, the Village of Lakefield, saw mainly calls for traffic-related concerns, particularly regarding left turns at Water and Bridge streets. Motor vehicle collisions were the second highest reason for calls for service in the area.

Area 6, Cavan Monaghan Township, had 1,051 calls for service. Traffic enforcement remained the primary concern.

The crime rate in Lakefield was one per cent, while the figure was 2.4 per cent in Cavan Monaghan.

“Crimes in our contracted communities accounted for a relatively small percentage of our overall crime,” the report states.

The report says that in 2018, the police service also saw a 7.3 per cent decrease in traffic complaints, a 28.9 per cent decrease in youth calls and a 3.6 per cent decrease in police assistance calls.

The force’s emergency response team was also involved in 18 team callouts or details and six high-risk warrants.

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