• Carmen Marie Fabio

Vaudreuil-Soulanges police detail last year’s activities


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

(Left to right) Sgt. Bruce Labrie, MRC-VS Prefect and Rivière-Beaudette Mayor Patrick Bousez, CSP President and NDIP Mayor Danie Deschênes, Capt. Marc Robert, and Lt. Patrick Bertrand outlined police activities throughout the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region for the past fiscal year.

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) presented their annual activity report for 2019/2020 on June 22 at the MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges office and along with detailed descriptions of events covered over the past year, the force is looking to have more personal interaction with the community members in the coming year.

Under the recommendations of the Comité de sécurité publique (CSP) which is comprised of the SQ representatives and several of the mayors of the MRC-VS, this year police will be focusing on road safety, interventions in drug trafficking, and having more of a presence in public spaces including parks, beaches, and boat ramps.

“The officers will get out of their cars to talk to the residents,” said NDIP Mayor Danie Deschênes, who is also the President of the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges CSP. “They're going to meet with the residents. It's not always negative things like giving tickets for infractions, but being more present in the community.”

Deschênes was joined by Vaudreuil-Soulanges east and west SQ detachment director Capt. Marc Robert, Sgt. Bruce Labrie from the SQ west detachment in Saint-Clet, Lt. Patrick Bertrand from the SQ east detachment in Vaudreuil-Dorion, and MRC-VS Prefect and Mayor of Rivière-Beaudette Patrick Bousez.

The report which runs from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 coincided with the second mass flooding in the region in a two-year period. Following the 2017 floods, Capt. Robert said an increase in police presence last year in some of the hardest hit communities like Rigaud and Terrasses-Vaudreuil meant there were no thefts or vandalisms in unoccupied homes.

Roadside safety

Though there was an increase in automotive collisions that resulted in minor injuries over the past year, overall the rates of death or serious injury remained steady or declined compared to the last five years. The past year included a total of two serious injuries from car collisions, down from a high of 18 in the 2017/2018 period.

There was an increase in tickets issued for municipal by-law traffic infractions including illegal U-turns, drag racing, and screeching tires with 1659 reports this year as opposed to 1127 in the last corresponding report.

Water interventions

With the addition of a second patrol boat, police were able to issue 75 warnings to recreational boaters as well as give an increased number of tickets for infractions including operating a watercraft while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The boats patrol Lac St-François, Lac St-Louis, and the Lake of Two Mountains.

Crimes against the person

Reports of sexual assault have increased over the past four years, almost doubling between 2016/2017 (64 cases) and 2017/2018 (110 cases). There were a reported 139 cases for the 2019/2020 period, an increase of 115 cases over last year.

Lt. Bertrand said the rise in cases is proportional to sensitization campaigns with area schools – when individuals understand what constitutes a sexual assault, its likelihood of being reported increases.

“It's similar with (physical) assault cases,” Bertrand continued of the increase of reports for the past year – 566 compared to 451 for the previous year.

Robberies were down only slightly and 'other crimes against the person' including forcible confinement, threats, and intimidation also showed a slight decrease compared to previous years.

Property crimes

Last year's statistics showed a reduction in arson cases with only 16 reports, the lowest in five years. The highest was 32 in 2017/2018. A similar trend is also present in break and enters. Reports of suspicious persons, mischief, and fraud were, on average, consistent with the previous five years but the SQ said continued efforts are being made to educate seniors on fraud prevention as they're often the fraudsters' prime targets.

Increases were found in reports of property theft and, in particular, car theft.

“There's a rise in car thefts due to organized crime,” said Bertrand. “They target certain types of deluxe cars in Quebec and Ontario and through their networks, they're usually sent to other countries where there's a high demand.”

Changes to the criminal code in relation to cannabis has led to a significant decrease in drug-related charges. Police continue to work with high school administrators to educate students on the dangers of both cannabis and tobacco, the latter coming at the request of police to have the Ministry of Health and Social Services intervene, particularly to educate students on the harmful effects of vaping.

The 2019/2020 Annual Report concluded just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 meaning next year's annual report is likely to have marked differences in the types and amounts of crimes reported.

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