The holidays and summer may be the busiest times of the year for the RCMP, but the local community policing officer says a focus on “good, old-fashioned policing” is alive and well all year long.
The Windsor District RCMP’s Const. Terry Fogarty says the county police received 31 fewer calls for service throughout the holidays — from Dec. 15, 2011 to Jan. 2, 2012 — than they did for the same time period in 2010.
In 2010, the RCMP were called on 288 times over the Christmas and New Year holiday season. In 2011, that number dropped to 257.
“The calls were quite a wide variety of everything,” Fogarty said, noting that there were 41 traffic-related calls, which included seven reports of impaired driving, a number of domestics, assaults and two calls under the Firearms Act.
Fogarty says it’s generally business as usual in December and January, but the detachment does put a heavy emphasis on setting up check points throughout their vast coverage area to catch impaired drivers.
“Either they get caught because somebody reports them or they get caught because we’re out doing patrols… and we pull them over and catch them, or the worst thing happens: they get in an accident,” Fogarty said.
“And, they’re not thinking at that point that they’re going to affect someone else’s life. I like to think that anyway.”
Prevention, Fogarty says, is best achieved when “good, old fashioned policing” is combined with input from the community.
“We really count on the community for their information and that’s why Crime Stoppers is such an important avenue for some people,” he said.
“It is important for communities to give us this information so it can be passed on to the right units.”
Fogarty says many of the anonymous tips placed through Crime Stoppers — an avenue through which an unidentified tipster can submit information to the police without having to be a witness in court — lead to arrests.
“It ruins a lot of lives. I’ve never met one person yet that the drugs have made smarter.” - RCMP Const. Terry Fogarty
He says community information is a valuable resource when the police are searching for drug dealers because RCMP foot patrols alone will not keep drugs off the streets. He believes it is imperative that guardians, role models and educators teach kids the dangers of drug and substance abuse at a young age and continue to drive the point home as they grow older.
“It ruins a lot of lives. I’ve never met one person yet that the drugs have made smarter,” Fogarty said, noting that the damage done to a user’s brain can be irreversible.
Fogarty noted a slight increase in the amount of fraud-related offenses reported in 2011.
“Fraud is such a big one now because of computers,” he said.
In 2010, 41 potential cases of fraud were reported and 27 were found to be true. In 2011, 50 cases were reported and 38 led to charges.
Fogarty named bribery, forgery, money laundering, identity theft, false messages and counterfeit money as a few examples of the fraudulent activity reported within the county.
He says one case of fraud that is commonly reported in Hants County today is a telephone scam wherein a person will call, claiming to be employed with Microsoft, and tell the person on the other end of the receiver that his or her computer has a virus.
Fogarty says this scam is an attempt to gain confidential personal information a person has stored on his or her computer. He recommends disconnecting the call and reporting the incident to the local police detachment immediately.
If a person is ever uncertain about whether or not to reach out to the police, Fogarty recommends giving the local station a call, dropping in, or approaching a member in public.
“Our door is always open.”