Queensway Clean Up Makes Progress
Prince George RCMP Superintendent Warren Brown outlines crime stat comparisons – photo 250News
Prince George, B.C. – It has been 8 months since the Prince George RCMP launched what it calls the “Queensway Initiative” a concerted effort to reduce the crime that has been happening in the area of 17th and Queensway area of Prince George and it is having an impact.
At a meeting last night, RCMP Superintendent told a group of residents of the area, that police are making progress. Between January and the end of September this year, there were 539 calls for service to the area. That’s up from 421 calls for service to the area during the same time frame last year, and down slightly from the 557 such calls in 2014. In 2013 during the first nine months of that year there had been 458 calls.
So while the number of calls to the area are up 28%, Supt. Brown would like to think that is because residents now feel more comfortable in making those calls “When you think something is just not right, when it makes your heart beat faster or your hair stand up, call 9-1-1” Brown added it’s the calls that will help resolve the issues in the neighbourhood “We don’t know what we don’t know”.
The good news is, with increased patrols, new programs such as the Car 60 program which deals with calls involving mental health issues, restorative justice and a number of other initiatives involving other stakeholders and agencies in the City, crime in the 17th and Queensway area is trending down. “I am still not content” said Supt. Brown “This is still a high crime rate.”
Violent crime in that area of Prince George is down 50%, property crime is also down, having dropped by 36% . There have been fewer thefts from vehicles, the number of break and enters has dropped, but possession of stolen property charges have increased and drug offences have more than doubled but that is likely the result of a special enforcement project.
Residents expressed gratitude for the extra effort, noting they have seen more police patrols and police presence in the past few months, and offered praise to a young Constable Monette who joined in a game of hoops with some neighbourhood youth “Those boys thought it was really cool” said one resident, while another noted “it made me feel safe as a mom.”
Yet, one woman told Supt. Brown how she won’t let her 14 year old daughter walk to the 7-11 at 17th and Queensway after dark, and another said that while she has a couple of mid sized dogs, she is afraid to walk them on the street in the evening . Supt. Brown advised her to call police “We have four dogs, and they’re big, and we will walk them down your street.”
The residents detailed a number of ongoing issues such as spent needles, bike couriers who whiz down the alley ways “like hummingbirds” , open drug dealing and shady characters carrying new T.V’s sneaking into apartment buildings at all hours of the night.
It is clear the work is far from over, and while the Superintendent says he doubts the area will ever be crime free, residents were appreciative of the efforts to not only deal with the issues in the area, but Supt. Brown’s commitment to keep them engaged and involved. He called on the neighbourhood to keep the lines of communication open, “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease” and closed the session with a promise “We won’t neglect you.”