November 30, 2016 3:03 pm
Updated: November 30, 2016 4:24 pm

Familiar issues return in new Regina police chief’s first police commissioners meeting

Chief Evan Bray presided over his first Board of Police Commissioners meeting on Nov. 30.

Adrian Raaber / Global News

Regina’s September crime stats are out, and they’re following a familiar pattern as previous months. Property crime rates continue to increase, and most concerning for new police chief, Evan Bray, gun related crimes are also up.

“Were working on lots of different ways that we can get these guns off the streets, and that obviously brings down the serious assaults and the assaults with a weapon, those types of calls,” Bray said.

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Like his predecessor Troy Hagan, Bray linked the increase in break-ins, auto thefts, other property crimes, and assaults to increased rates of crystal meth and other synthetic drugs.

Bray discussed increased enforcement measures, and credits other programs for helping addicts get out of criminal behaviour like Regina’s Drug Treatment Court.

For those still involved in criminal behaviour, Mayor Michael Fougere described it as one crime leading to another.

“Crystal meth creates a whole different dynamic of one who’s addicted, looking to continue the addiction and looking for way to do that,” Fougere said.

“That’s through crime and it’s not necessarily through fist or through knives, it’s by guns now and that creates another dynamic. So that to me stands out but you can be assured the service is taking steps to lessen that.”

Year-over-year property crime has seen a 13 per cent increase, reaching 8,221 reported incidents as of the end of September.

Total crimes against people remains consistent with last year’s numbers. At this point in 2015 there had been 1,740 of these crimes, compared to 1,732 this year.

Broadening the Agenda

This was Bray’s first meeting as chief and he announced plans to broaden the agenda of the public portion of the monthly meeting.

Florence Stratton, a local activist, said she’s attended several meetings and found there wasn’t much room for providing oversight or criticism of police actions.

She’s pleased to hear agenda items will be broadened beyond the standard look at monthly crime statistics.

“It will be fulfilling its agenda more than it has in the past,” Stratton said.

The change comes following conversations between Bray and Fougere.

“I think it provides better insight into some of the work that’s being done in our service, some of the initiatives that we have going on,” Bray said.

As for increased transparency, Bray said issues surrounding use of force and other topics brought up by Stratton are covered in annual reports as well.

With files from Krista Sharpe

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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