• Carmen Marie Fabio

Annual SQ report shows reduction in most areas of crime in Vaudreuil-Soulanges region


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

(Left to right): MRC-VS Prefect Jean Lalonde, SQ Vaudreuil-Soulanges West Captain Marc Robert,

SQ Vaudreuil-Soulanges East Captain Ginette Séguin, and Comité de sécurité publique president

Marc Roy present the annual report on crime in our region.

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) police captains from both the Vaudreuil-Soulanges east and west detachments presented the force’s annual activity report to area media Monday, June 22, and the 2014-2015 crime statistics overall are down based on a comparison with an average taken over the previous four-year reporting period.

“For the 2014-2015 period, the areas we’ve targeted are road safety in residential neighbourhoods and crime prevention following issues raised with the Comité de sécurité publique (CSP),” said Vaudreuil-Soulanges east Capt. Ginette Séguin. Targeted areas were defined in conjunction with the CSP, headed by Île Perrot Mayor Marc Roy, and MRC-VS Prefect and Très Saint Rédempteur Mayor Jean Lalonde.

“Last year, we took part in a number of sensitization campaigns,” said Vaudreuil-Soulanges east Capt. Marc Robert of roadside and vehicular operations, “along with crowd behaviour at holiday festivities and protection of our seniors.” The report documents two-dozen operations to raise public awareness with outreach events in schools that illustrate the dangers of drinking and driving via accident simulations and addressing issues of elder abuse with the Groupe d’intervention violence aux aînés (GRIVA) at area seniors’ facilities.

“The police are also implicated in certain community causes,” said Robert, of the force’s fundraising initiatives for cancer research and the Polar Bear Plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics. While assault charges have diminished from 372 this period compared with a four-year average of 414, the statistics for 2013-14 report 338 cases, meaning an increase from the last period of 10 per cent. Charges of sexual aggression are on par with last year at 55 versus 54, but show an increase over the past four year average of 50.

“That’s not necessarily because there’s an aggressor,” said Robert, “but rather that we’ve developed ways to (allow) more victims to come forward. Robert reminded those in attendance of the recent website offering guidance and resources to victims of sexual aggression CaMeConcerne.ca. Though currently in French only, the CSSS-VS has told Your Local Journal an English version of the site will be available this fall.

A substantial drop was seen in mischief charges from a 467 annual average over the last four years to the current 282. Further reductions were seen in arson and theft since previous years. Though less compared to the four-year average, break and enters were up slightly since last year, as was fraud. Following a 14-month investigation, SQ officers recently arrested four suspects responsible for a province-wide string of 71 break and enters, including 21 in St. Lazare.

Drug infractions have also increased from a four-year average of 425 to 460. Following last year’s annual report outlining officer training that included instruction on the use of portable defibrillators, Capt. Séguin confirmed the machines are now present in all patrol vehicles and officers have been trained in its use. Mayor Roy added that along with area first responders, the units are also present in a number of public facilities. Advances in technology coupled with an ageing population mean police are seeing an increase in fraud cases, particularly the ‘grandparent’ fraud in which someone posing as a relative calls an elderly resident saying they need money immediately due to some emergency.

“They claim to be a grandson, saying they’ve been arrested and need $4000 right away,” said Roy. “We absolutely have to sensitize the older population to this type of fraud. We tell them to verify right away by calling their grandchild back to confirm the situation.” Roy and Séguin both said outreach has also been made to bank employees to be vigilant of elderly customers suddenly withdrawing large sums of cash, and continued eff orts are made to inform all residents that legitimate financial organizations will never ask for credit or debit card information via telephone.