OHSWEKEN – A common fallacy in our community is that the magnitude of crimes that occur at Six Nations must match our comparatively small population and small police service. However, a quick review of the statistical data published annually by the Six Nations Police dispels that myth and overrides any simplistic thinking we may have about the work our “bush cops” do. In reality, our men and women in uniform are regularly responding to calls pertaining to violent crimes or otherwise disturbing events.
The most alarming stat, at first glance, is the fact that from 2012-2014, Six Nations Police investigated four murder offences – a statistic which includes attempted murder. From 2011-2014, they investigated 92 complaints of sexual assault; 572 domestics, responded to 129 calls regarding firearms offences, 280 break and enters, 145 allegations of fraud, 47 robberies (which implies force or threat of force was used during theft/attempted theft), and 568 assaults with varying degrees of injury. There were investigations into 82 allegations of impaired driving and 101 allegations of dangerous driving over those years.
Suicides in the community remained prevalent. 2013 was the first year that statistics pertaining to suicides were specifically noted in the report to the community. The Six Nations Police’s “Year in Review 2013-2014” identified that there were 18 reported suicides and 11 false suicide reports. In 2014 there were 11 reported suicides and 14 false suicide reports. The classification of “Reported Suicide” includes all calls pertaining to any actual suicide or any attempt or serious threat of suicide.
The numbers listed as “False Suicide Reports” were the calls police received indicating someone was suicidal but ended up being unfounded. Six Nations Police indicate that these calls tended to stem from the good intentions of citizens concerned about another individual’s mental state, usually based on posts on social media.
Chief of Police Glenn Lickers stated that, “Each year we set strategic priorities for the service. As an organization, we then work towards achieving or succeeding at those priorities. In some cases, an officer or officers may be assigned to address a specific priority. As an example, last year we identified the number of outstanding arrest warrants on file as a short term strategic priority. An officer was assigned specifically to that priority for two months. Other long term priorities – like drug enforcement or traffic safety – involve all members of the service and will see a number of activities undertaken throughout the year that all contribute to our goal of successful enforcement/prosecutions in those areas. We are always extremely busy, and with our limited resources, it is difficult to set two big strategic priorities for any given year.”
In 2013, traffic violations were marked as a priority for the year, with the goal of increasing enforcement to reduce motor vehicle accidents. They invested the manpower and officers committed to vigilantly catch violators. The following year, drugs were the priority, so the ability to monitor traffic as vigilantly was reduced. As a result, in 2013, 295 traffic charges were laid, while 162 traffic charges were laid in 2014. Lickers argues that the reduction in charges is an indication of limited manpower, not stricter adherence to traffic laws. Lickers points out that the increase in police enforcement of traffic laws in 2013 did little to impact the number of accidents. Two-hundred and thirty two accidents were reported in 2013, one of which caused death, and 57 of which caused personal injury. In 2014, 242 accidents were reported, one causing death and 44 causing personal injury.
From 2011-2014, Six Nations Police recovered 1,716 stolen motor vehicles. Even though the number of recovered vehicles is high, looking at the statistics over the years, a marked decline is evident. There were 586 recoveries in 2011, 484 in 2012, 289 in 2013 and 357 in 2014.
Lickers states that the reduction in recovered vehicles over the years is due to the success of the police initiative Project Shutdown and the incarceration of habitual car thieves. Police see a marked increase in the number of vehicles being recovered when a select few habitual car thieves are released from custody and a marked drop when these few individuals are incarcerated.
Overall, the number of charges laid has been reduced each year. There were 433 charges laid under the Criminal Code of Canada in 2013 and 395 in 2014. Two-hundred and ninety-five charges were laid under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act in 2013, while 162 were laid in 2014. In 2013, there were 25 charges of provincial liquor laws with only seven charges in 2014. Under “other statutes” (meaning drugs) there were 19 charges laid in 2013 and 47 charges laid in 2014. The increase in drug charges relates to drugs being listed as a priority in 2014.