Crime rate increased, use of force decreased

The number of use-of-force incidents in York Region dropped 4.27 per cent last year but the overall crime rate increased 7.9 per cent, the York Police Services Board reported at its April 17 meeting.

Members of York Regional Police (YRP) reported 399,656 interactions with members of the public in 2018, including traffic stops, citizen-generated calls for service and officer-initiated contacts. Of those interactions, 210 resulted in use-of-force reports, a province-wide standardized method of collecting information from individual police services on incidents involving use of force.

Of those 210 interactions, 42.5 per cent occurred on a roadway and 60.5 per cent took place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Also according to the Use of Force Report, YRP members pointed a firearm at a person 222 times in 2018 compared with 206 times in 2017 and reported a 29.5 per cent increase in the use of tasers in that time period.

According to the Annual Statistical Report, meanwhile, the property crime rate in York Region increased 6.6 per cent and the violent crime rate increased 14.2 per cent in 2018 compared to the previous year. Robbery violations decreased 2.2 per cent and the rate of sexual violations increased 7.2 per cent, with 40 more reported cases in that time period.

Hate crimes dropped 10.2 percent in that time period. Also according to the report, 1,985 drug violations were reported in 2018 compared to 2,313 violations in 2017 – a 14.2 per cent decrease. Violent crime reports totalled 8,346 compared to 7,372 violations in 2017 – a 13.2% increase.

Although the overall crime rate has been increasing in the last few years, York Region remains one of the safest communities in Canada, the Police Services Board assures. Visit its website at www.yrpsb.ca for full copies of the reports, including crime rates by municipality.

The Board also released its Annual Report on Equity and Inclusion Strategy. Key initiatives include Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace: Civility and Respect. It’s designed to create an organizational culture that supports a psychologically healthy workplace free from stigma, harassment and discrimination.

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