County of Brant OPP detachment commander Insp. Dave Durant is disappointed by an increase in impaired driving charges laid in the municipality during 2012.
“We have experienced significant community tragedy in Brant over the last few years where impaired drivers have caused serious bodily injury or death,” Durant said during an interview with Brant News following the release of the detachment’s 2012 crime statistics. “That’s something they can never take back. It baffles me that some folks take the risks they do.”
Brant OPP officers laid 82 impaired driving charges last year, marking a nearly eight per cent increase over 2011.
“When I see that we charged 82 people with impaired driving in 2012, I think it is 82 too many,” Durant said.
Although reports of stolen vehicles increased in 2012 over the previous year, Durant said the numbers are still well below where they were three years ago.
“In this area, (auto theft) has been a long-standing issue,” Durant said.
Durant said Project Shutdown – a joint police forces initiative to combat auto theft – has reduced rates of the crime in Brant, Brantford, Six Nations, Halton Region and Hamilton.
“We all have officers assigned for a co-ordinated effort to identify car thieves,” Durant said. “We do what we can to identify suspects and their practices and intervene safely when we can.”
Durant said car thieves are often tied to other illegal activities.
“The issues behind stolen vehicles run very deep,” Durant said. “We can tie stolen vehicles to the drug culture and other criminal activity.”
Durant said auto theft rates can be cut through the co-ordinated efforts of law enforcement, social agencies and government.
“We have to provide an alternative, legitimate source of income for those who have created an industry out of stolen vehicles and other criminal activity,” he said.
Other 2012 crime statistics compiled by Brant OPP are as follows:
Assaults: 107, no change from 2011.
Domestic assaults: 199, up by seven per cent over 2011.
Break and enters: 165, up by 4.4 per cent over 2011.
Mischief: 233, down by 7.5 per cent from 2011.
Drugs: 124, up by 0.8 per cent over 2011.
Stolen vehicles: 79, up by 41 per cent over 2011.
Recovered stolen: 124, up by nearly 16 per cent over 2011.
Theft under $5,000: 262, up by nearly eight per cent over 2011.