Whitehorse RCMP have conducted a survey, which is intended to inform policing priorities, and put out a report July 8 on the survey results. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse RCMP have conducted a survey, which is intended to inform policing priorities, and put out a report July 8 on the survey results. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse RCMP survey identifies illegal drugs, property crimes, driving-related matters as top priorities

RCMP had conducted survey and released results that were also prepared by police

A survey intended to guide how Whitehorse’s police force should divvy up resources identified illegal drug-related offences, property crime and driving-related matters as the top three policing priorities.

In a July 8 news release, Yukon RCMP Supt. Scott Sheppard said the Whitehorse detachment is the biggest and busiest in the territory, averaging 67 per cent of all division calls per year.

“With this survey, other community engagement and direction from the minister of Justice policing priorities, we aim to gain an understanding of what the public wants to see from us in the Whitehorse area and how we can work to best serve the community,” Sheppard said.

The online survey conducted by the Whitehorse RCMP between March 23 and April 8 asked eight questions, available in French and English, meant to gather recommendations from the public about priorities that should be considered for the detachment.

A report on survey results has also been prepared by police and was released on July 8. The report broke down the responses from 253 respondents who filled out the survey and marked their top three priorities.

In total, 130 respondents marked illegal drug-related offences as a top priority, according to the report. Ninety-four respondents indicated major property crime and 73 respondents indicated minor property crime, while 66 respondents chose impaired driving and 94 chose traffic enforcement.

The options for priorities also included First Nations engagement (34), youth engagement (20), community engagement (37), family violence (38), sexualized assault and crimes against persons (61), alternative patrols (35), increased focus on prolific offenders (56) and proactive outreach with mental health professionals (59).

In the report, 52 respondents showed interest in participating in a Whitehorse RCMP detachment advisory committee, while seven followed up by sending their contact information to the email address provided.

“When creating the survey, it was important to ensure that anonymity was protected in order to ensure people felt comfortable being honest in their responses,” reads the report.

“Allowing interested people to reach out rather than including a space to provide contact information inside the survey was meant to contribute to dedication to anonymity.”

In the report, the Yukon’s minister of Justice sets out policing priorities for the Yukon RCMP each year based on the work provided by the Yukon Police Council and the territorial department of Justice. The detachment uses these priorities along with input from the community, local leadership, governments and stakeholders to “ensure that police officers in the city focus on issues of identified importance.”

“This survey provided a new way for the Whitehorse community to share their opinions,” the report states.

In the report, the 2022-23 annual policing priorities, including resources, activities and programming, are also built on reviews of calls for service and statistics and crime trends from prior years in addition to survey results.

The key priorities listed in the report are: alternative patrols, road safety and rural patrols engagement; participation in property crime prevention efforts, opioid enforcement and participation in harm-reduction efforts and gun enforcement; youth event presentations and community engagement, including with Black, Indigenous, people of colour and LGBTQ2S+ communities; engagement and support of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council on self-determined administration of justice and community engagement for all First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Whitehorse; and education, prevention and enforcement related to violence against women and girls.

In the Yukon RCMP’s latest year in review report, the territory-wide priorities listed for 2021-22 were increase public trust; build on previous successes through increased policing efforts targeting the opioid and hard-drug crisis, as well as responses to serious and organized crime; engage with and support children and youth; strengthen relationships with First Nations; work with community and justice partners to maximize use of restorative justice; and enhance prevention, investigation and enforcement activities related to violence against women, girls and the LGBTQ2S+ population.

Contact Dana Hatherly at dana.hatherly@yukon-news.com