FREDRICTON (GNB) – The provincial government, the RCMP and the New Brunswick Association of Chiefs of Police today provided an update on crime trends in the province as well as information on initiatives underway to reduce it.

“We know crime has been rising in New Brunswick,” said Public Safety Minister Kris Austin. “Police-reported data shows increases in crime and New Brunswickers are telling us every day how crime is impacting their communities. The government and our policing partners are taking this seriously. Work is underway throughout the province to reduce crime, especially drug-related crime, and we are seeing results.”

According to Statistics Canada data, which includes information from police forces throughout the province as well as the RCMP, New Brunswick’s Crime Severity Index has been the highest among the Atlantic provinces for five consecutive years and is 20 per cent higher than the national rate. The province’s crime rate also continues to rise, with a 26 per cent increase over the past five years. Canada’s overall crime rate did not change over the same period.

The provincial government has invested $7.6 million since April 2021 to reduce crime, including:

·         $2.3 million in 2021-22, for the RCMP to start Provincial Crime Reduction Units which focus on high-level drug crime.

·         $2 million in 2021-22 in the Safer Communities Programs, which includes the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) program, and enforcement efforts targeting contraband tobacco and cannabis.

·         $3.3 million this year to create Integrated Drug Enforcement Units. These units include police officers and peace officers from the Department of Justice and Public Safety and focus on street level and mid-level drug crime.

From April 1 to Dec. 1, law enforcement agencies across the province made 159 drug seizures, seized about $808,000 in cash, 311 weapons and made 328 arrests related to drug crime.

“Law enforcement entities in New Brunswick have worked increasingly closer to consider what we are doing well, but also what we might do to improve upon existing efforts in the areas of multi-agency partnerships, shared services, intelligence collection and growing public trust,” said Woodstock police Chief Gary Forward, who is also president of the New Brunswick Association of Chiefs of Police. “The Integrated Enforcement Unit initiative serves as a working example toward a collaborative and intelligence-led approach targeting those engaged in the trafficking of drugs and illicit firearms.”

“The relationship between all New Brunswick law enforcement agencies is outstanding, and I am excited to once again participate in a truly collaborative effort to reduce crime in our communities across the province. I look forward to seeing the successes it will bring to enhance public safety,” said Assistant Commissioner DeAnna Hill, commanding officer of the RCMP in New Brunswick.

“Everyone has a role to play in preventing crime,” said Austin. “Taking small steps to protect your property and valuables can prevent a crime of convenience. If you are a victim of crime, it is important to report it no matter how small or insignificant it seems. Reporting crimes lets police agencies and the government know where and when they are happening. This information will be used to design strategies to make communities safer.”

New Brunswickers can report crimes and non-urgent information to help an investigation to their local police force, or by calling Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online.