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Calls for criminal charges in South Simcoe down 11% in 2021

South Simcoe Police Services provided crime rates in 2021 to the board this week
South Simcoe Police photo

Calls for criminal charges were down 11 per cent in South Simcoe for 2021, compared to 2020.

Stats on crime in the area were made available at the May South Simcoe Police Service (SSPS) board meeting on Wednesday by Chief Andrew Fletcher and Deputy Chief John Van Dyke who provided board members with a rundown on police enforcement in 2021.

“I’m proud to say that we maintained a 54.3 per cent clearance rate of all the criminal charges,” said Chief Fletcher. “That aligns with what we had the year before with 54.9 per cent.”

Clearance rates are calculated by dividing the number of crimes that are cleared with charges being laid by the total number of crimes recorded—they’re used to measure the crimes solved by police. In 2020 in Canada, the average weighted clearance rate was 37.08 per cent.

“Clearance rates are pretty important to us, and they show us proactive policing and reactive policing, and good solutions,” said Chris Gariepy, SSPS board Chair.

There were 2,322 calls for criminal charges in 2021 (down 11 per cent from 2020) and out of those calls, 706 were cleared by charge and 554 were cleared otherwise (diversion or caution).

Fletcher provided an explanation as to what “youth diversion” means and why it’s part of the process.

“You can charge a youth under the youth criminal justice act, or you can divert them— we work with the Elizabeth Fry Society and other groups,” he said. “For example, we had an incident here in Bradford a couple weeks back where an assault took place and we got together with the parents of the youth involved, and as long as they accept responsibility and it’s playable to the victim, they can be diverted to do community service hours, go for training, go for counselling. Particularly for first time offenders we try to divert them as often as we can.”

Property crime for 2021 (break and enters, theft, shoplifting) saw 101 adults charged (down 15 per cent from 2020) and six youth (down 62 per cent from the year before) and 25 youth diverted

Other criminal code violations that were non-property related saw 150 adults charged (down from 153 in 2020), two youths, and 21 youths diverted. Total criminal code traffic offences (impaired driving, dangerous driving) were up in 2021 with 165 adults (there were 130 in 2020), one youth, and no youth diverted.

In 2021 there were 42 total federal statues (drug offences from possession to trafficking), the same number as 2020, with one youth charged and none diverted.

“The other thing that does get reported on is hate crimes,” said Fletcher. “I’m glad to say that in 2021 we only had two reported hate crimes, which is down from four the previous year.”

Cybercrime incidents went up significantly this past year with 308 reported cybercrime offences, an increase of 60 per cent from 2020.

“We saw a lot of cyberattacks during the pandemic—fraud and threats,” said Fletcher.