By Cindy Filipenko
When it comes to being a safe community, Pemberton is in good shape, according to RCMP.
Inspector Norm McPhail and Cpl. Paul Vadik delivered their quarterly report to mayor and council on Sept 13. Having changed crime-tracking software, the police were unable to generate the comparative statistical information contained in past reports. However, McPhail assured council that crime in all areas, from property crimes to assault, has been reduced.
Most notably, alcohol related offenses have dramatically diminished. Two significant community events, The Birken 4x4 Rally and the Pemberton Barn Dance, yielded no arrests. And thanks to ongoing Counter Attack efforts, there have been no impaired driving arrests since April.
Overall, road safety has increased in the region with no serious motor vehicle accidents occurring during the summer. Cpl. Vadik attributed this trend to increased RCMP visibility, enforcement and radar.
Break and enters, which had been a problem earlier this year for Pemberton businesses and residences in Birken, have not been an ongoing issue. In terms of the Pemberton case, the culprit has pleaded guilty and is due to appear in court for sentencing on Sept. 21. Charges in the Birken case are pending confirmation of the suspect’s identity via DNA testing.
Currently there are no grow-ops investigations within the Village of Pemberton boundaries, and the recent Outdoor Marijuana Eradication Program resulted in a mere 20 plants being found in the surrounding wilderness areas. Those plants were found on the only site discovered during a two-day air sweep of the area.
“We’ve put three drug dealers out of business,” said Vadik, adding that two of the dealers had left town.
Vadik added that this year there would be extra focus on the high school to increase drug awareness and curtail drug activity among youth.
Arrests for public drunkenness, an issue that has long been a problem amongst a handful of habitual drinkers, are down by 55 per cent. Vadik attributed the reduction in arrests due to an increase in patrols at times when these individuals come into the town core to buy alcohol. Recognizing the ongoing social problems associated with chronic alcoholism, McPhail noted that RCMP will be meeting with the Winds of Change committee later this month to discuss strategies for dealing with the problem.