HINTON -- Spousal abuse and family violence related calls have increased with Hinton RCMP responding to and investigating 137 incidents between April 1 and July 31.

Hinton RCMP's quarterly report stated that increase equals approximately 25 per cent.

Hinton RCMP participate as a member of the Domestic Violence Committee, which is organized by the Hinton Friendship Centre and includes Hinton Victim Support Services.

“Victim Services has also noticed the increase, the majority of our referrals come from the RCMP,” stated Natascha Thoennes, executive director of Hinton's Victim Support Services (VSU).

All VSU staff are back to working regular hours and are able to provide support and referral assistance to anyone who contacts their office or is referred by the RCMP.

“A good portion of the increase we have seen has been domestic arguments. Clients are looking for someone to talk and referral agencies/information,” Thoennes said, adding that VSU is making a lot of referrals to counsellors and to programs offered in the community, such as YES for Women.

“A goal for the Alberta RCMP is to make sure all crime is reported, no matter how small. This provides the most accurate crime data and allows our resources to be deployed appropriately in the areas that need it most,” reads the quarterly report.

Suspicious person and vehicle complaints continue to rise, with 194 suspicious complaints between April 1 and July 31.

Citizens are able to report crimes online, including damage and mischief to property under $5,000, theft of bicycles under $5,000, theft under $5,000, theft from vehicles under $5,000, and lost property.

To be reported online, incidents must have no witnesses or suspects, items lost or stolen must cost less than $5,000, vandalized property will cost less than $5,000 to repair, and no items involving personal identity, firearms, licence plates, or decals.

Statistics from April 1 to July 31, 2020 show a 14 per cent decrease in person's crime, 17 per cent decrease in property crime, 45 per cent decrease in other criminal code, 59 per cent decrease in break and enters, 18 per cent decrease in theft of motor vehicle, and 21 per cent decrease in theft under $5000.

Hinton RCMP have investigated 17 missing person complaints, all who have been located.

Throughout the pandemic, members of the Hinton RCMP continued to respond to calls while additional measures were implemented.

Hinton RCMP reported a 59 per cent decrease in reported break and enters as of July 31, 2020 compared to the previous year. The quarterly RCMP report to council noted that the initial goal was to reduce break and enters by seven per cent.

The clearance rate of break and enters is at 36 per cent as of June 30, which the report explains that RCMP are solving these crimes and holding individuals accountable.

Other items in the quarterly report include that search warrant training and judicial authorization tracking are ongoing within the detachment and that hot spots continue to be identified on a weekly basis, while foot and bike patrols are occurring in strategic locations.

The report also stated there has been a 33 per cent decrease in traffic collisions, totalling 80 from April 1 to July 31.

All municipal positions at the Hinton RCMP detachment are occupied. A joint mock exercise with Hinton Search & Rescue is being planned for this fall.