The Burns Lake detachment of the RCMP is in the process of partnering with the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) to prevent fatalities involving trains in the Burns Lake area.
In 2016, two individuals died after being hit by CN trains in Burns Lake and Decker Lake.
Staff sergeant Charlotte Peters announced the partnership with CN last week while providing an overview of last year’s criminal activity in Burns Lake to village council.
Peters said the partnership with CN police will involve education programs in local schools and First Nations reserves, as well as more pro-active patrols by police in critical areas and signage along the tracks.
Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach asked if the initiative would also involve building fences along the tracks. Peters said that although the RCMP has suggested that idea, CN has not made any commitments to building fences.
When it comes to recent crime activity, Peters said Burns Lake is in “pretty good shape.”
From January to November 2016, violent crime decreased by 10 per cent while property crime decreased by 16 per cent.
In 2016, 42 impaired drivers were caught by police in Burns Lake, an increase of almost 100 per cent compared to the previous year.
“Police officers are being more pro-active and working harder, which for us is a good thing,” said Peters.
Going into the holiday season, 13 spot checks took place in and around the community.
“There were about 500 vehicles that were tracked,” said Peters.
Offences under the controlled drugs and substances act increased by 26 per cent in Burns Lake in 2016, peaking in November at 800 per cent. All the files in November were related to marijuana possession.
“District intelligence sources suggest this increase is likely associated to the proposed legislation regarding legalizing the drug,” said Peters. “Therefore people are being less discrete regarding its use.”
“There is nothing to suggest that new cannabis drug dealers have moved into Burns Lake area or that there is an increase in the availability of the drug,” she added.
There has also been an increase in the number of ‘cause disturbance offences’ and ‘fail to appear in court’ in 2016.
According to Peters, fail to appear in court offences have increased throughout the RCMP’s north district. And although cause disturbance offences have increased, Peters said they are not part of an emerging trend.
“Alcohol is a factor in these offences, but there isn’t a common location or offender committing these crimes.”