Police investigations through the first three months of the year suggest violent crime in Norfolk County is down compared to this point in 2019.
Norfolk OPP investigated 95 complaints of violence through the end of March, according to a report to Norfolk’s Police Services Board. This compares with 120 complaints to the end of March of last year.
However, there has been an increase in sexual assault reports this year.
By the end of March of 2019, Norfolk OPP had investigated nine such complaints. This compares with 13 through the first three months of this year.
The local force defines violent crime as murder, common assault, sexual assault, abduction, robbery and other crimes directed at the well-being of a person.
The Norfolk OPP fielded 26 complaints of violence in March. In March of 2019, there were 42 complaints in this area.
The report was scheduled to be tabled at the April meeting of the PSB. That meeting was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic alert.
In his monthly report, Insp. Joe Varga, head of Norfolk OPP, notes that property crimes through the end of March were up compared to the first quarter of 2019. A total of 351 property crimes were reported in the first three months of this year. The corresponding figure for the first quarter of 2019 was 326.
Filed under the heading of property crimes are break-and-enters, thefts, fraud, vandalism and arson.
In his report, Varga notes there have been no fatalities on Norfolk roadways through the first three months of 2020.
The inspector’s report also features a monthly update from Crime Stoppers of Haldimand and Norfolk, which notes that the 125 new tips were received through the first three months of this year.
In recent correspondence, Crime Stoppers chair Neil Unwin, of Simcoe, said information shared with the crime-solving agency must be presented anonymously. Otherwise, Unwin said. Crime Stoppers will terminate communications.
Under the Crime Stoppers format, tipsters do not speak to a police officer and do not testify in court. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display. Callers to Crime Stoppers who help solve a crime are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.
Crime Stoppers of Haldimand and Norfolk is interested in receiving tips about all crimes. However — due to a spike in overdoses involving fentanyl, carfentanil and other dangerous opioids — Crime Stoppers is especially interested in receiving reports of individuals trafficking in these substances and has put a premium on this information.
The Norfolk PSB’s next scheduled meeting is May 27. Plans are to move ahead with that meeting. However, scheduling of public meetings in Norfolk and elsewhere is subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
During this public-health emergency, meetings normally open to the public are closed due to social-distancing protocols and the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s ongoing efforts to break the chain of viral transmission.