By Robert Frank
“All of our statistics show that in 2013, Laval enjoyed its lowest crime rate of the past 20 years,” Laval’s new police chief Pierre Brochet told The Suburban in an interview. “That’s very good news for the citizens of Laval.”
“Of some 270,000 911 calls during 2013, about 41,000 needed police intervention,” he said, “which works out to 251 dispatches per day.”
“The number of criminal infractions is way down—the lowest since the start of the 1990s,” he added. “One exception is violent crime, which was up 2% to 3885, though that number remains very low for a city of Laval’s size.”
Armed robberies in dépanneurs were down, but there was a slight rise in homicides last year, which saw five murders, four of which were related to organized crime and street gangs.
Chief Brochet was especially pleased that crimes against property sank a full 10% last year.
“Break and entry crimes hit people in their homes, so citizens are very pleased when those numbers fall,” he observed.
“The other big news is the relaunch of the combined regional squad,” Chief Brochet said. “The team brings local police services together with their Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Sûreté du Quebec partners to fight organized crime across jurisdictions.”
He nonetheless sees the need to intensify his focus on highway safety. Although better than other cities of similar size, 2013 witnessed six road fatalities—three of them pedestrians—compared with four in 2012. Injuries from accidents increased by 14, reaching 1,160 last year.
“Road safety is one of Laval residents’ main concerns,” he acknowledged.
In 2014, Chief Brochet plans to increase attention in school zones and crack down on motorists who drive drunk or who are texting while driving.
Despite the impressive numbers, Chief Brochet has mapped out a long-term strategy to ensure that the Laval police service can continue to deal effectively with the city’s burgeoning population.
“The more you grow, the more urban problems will go along with it,” he predicted. “Prostitution, homelessness, consumption and trafficking of illegal drugs.”
“We’ll step up crime prevention and enforcement, of course, but the solution will also entail a lot more communication with the public,” he said. “Consequently, we’re about to embark on a round of public consultation. It will involve public opinion polls and focus groups.”
“Besides giving us a better idea of the public’s perception of policing, it will permit citizens to express their needs and expectations for public safety,” explained Chief Brochet. “That will permit me and my staff to chart the way ahead and work with my team to find out how we can improve.”
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