Recent History – 2003
April 2, 2003, By Kelly Harris, Daily News Staff
An RCMP task force is taking aim at the Dawson Creek drug trade by going after petty crime in the city. Const. Tim Hawkes is heading up the group looking into files of small value crimes – minor break-ins, thefts from cars – to look for
connections. The idea the RCMP are working on is that drug users in need of quick cash to feed their addiction look for crimes of opportunity.
“A lot of these crimes of opportunity you can tie back to the drug scene,” Hawkes said. “A lot of minor thefts, B and E’s — it’s a nasty circle, they might steal something to get a quick fix.”
The idea is also that if the RCMP cleans up the drug scene in the city, petty crime will go down. The task force will look at the issue from both sides – investigating the lesser crimes while taking aim at illegal drugs. The goal is to cut into the drug trafficking and reduce the need for cash from petty crimes; while cutting into petty crimes, thereby reducing the cash to feed drug trafficking.
“We feel we can do a better job at drug enforcement,” said Staff Sgt. Larry Flath. “That’ll do a lot for petty crime in Dawson Creek.”
The first part of the task force will be to gather information about crimes classified as theft under $5,000. Often these files may not get the kind of attention larger crimes do; however, by investigating them as a whole a larger incident may be prevented. The kinds of crimes Hawkes will be looking at include minor break-ins at homes and businesses and also cars. Often, those looking for quick cash may walk up and down streets checking cars and trucks to see if they’re locked. Once an unlocked vehicle is found change, minor valuables and
sometimes an entire CD collection can be made off with.
“You have to lock your vehicle,” Hawkes said. “Sometimes they take change, sometimes a case of 50 or 100 CDs, depending on what an individual leaves in their car.”
RCMP also gets lists from local pawnshops checking to see if items have been listed as missing from break-ins and other smaller criminal events. The task force will look at those lists, but often looking at connections in location. Hawkes said often a large group of break and enter crimes could be committed by the same one or two people.
“Initially we are just kind of looking at connections and ways we can look at connections,” Hawkes said. “Sometimes it’s as simple as looking at locations.”
Hawkes also said the extra work will help the officer hone his investigative skills. February’s local policing numbers saw no crimes worth $5,000 or more
and 90 worth less than $5,000. There were 30 break and enters in Dawson Creek in February, that number is down from 35 for the same month in 2002. Of the 30 break and enters in February, 12 were businesses, 16 residential with the final two committed at other structures.