“We found that the majority of our vehicle thefts were being committed by a small group of individuals, often youth who, if not interrupted in their behavior, quickly became chronic repeat offenders. With our partners, we wanted to intervene with the first-time offenders offering them help - alternative measures and supports - to stop their criminal activity,” Popwich said.
The strategy included curfew checks, social programs, and early interventions. There was also a campaign to educate the public about the need to protect their assets by using alarms and locking up valuables. RPS also worked with the justice system to ensure punishments levied would be ones that would deter similar behavior in the future.
Regina Police chief Troy Hagen said he’s pleased with the steady reductions of the crime rate, but there’s still much work to do. Other offenses, including sexual assault, discharge of a firearm, child pornography and drug offenses, saw increases nationally. Street robberies still pose a problem for RPS, Popowich said.
Solutions to these problems seem more elusive. RPS efforts at public education and enforcement are having some effect, but law enforcement agencies still aren’t seeing the reduction that they’ve seen in other areas, she said.
“Our progress speaks to our approach as a police service but also to our community’s ability to work collaboratively, and the results are apparent,” Hagen said.
Other highlights from the report:
• 79 percent of crimes reported to police were nonviolent crimes. Two-thirds of those were mischief and break-ins.
• Drug reports are up 10 percent, half of which were for marijuana.
• Regina reported the highest Crime Severity Index, followed by Saskatoon and Winnipeg.
• 153,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 17 were accused of a crime in 2010, almost 15,000 fewer than in 2009.
• Since 2010: Vehicle theft in Regina dropped 71.8 percent, violent crime dropped 19 percent, breaking and entering dropped 64 percent.
photo by Vaska037 from flickr