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Yorkton residents raise concerns about theft at RCMP public meeting

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At an engaging town hall meeting, residents from Yorkton its surrounding area shared their concerns and posed questions to the community’s RCMP.

Staff Sgt. Burton Jones said the purpose of the meeting was to gain insight from those in the community on what services are missing and to allow residents to ask questions.

"We wanted to showcase the RCMP in Yorkton, to show all of the services that we do provide here,” he explained.

“The second part of it was to engage the public and say listen, what do you think you need the police to concentrate on this year, what's important to you and your community? That’s very important for us to know because we’re a part of this community as well.”

With about 30 residents in attendance, people asked questions about the city’s violent crime rate, how officers respond to calls, while also sharing concerns about an increase of theft in the community.

“There were some really good questions being asked,” Jones said.

“People want to know if crime went up or down and in Yorkton. In the last two years, it stayed very constant, nothing has skyrocketed by any means. Violent crime is down a little bit, those are some of the things people asked about.”

People also asked how quickly police are responding to calls and what the local detachment’s hours of operation are.

Currently, Yorkton RCMP operate 24/7 with 28 members, according to Jones.

One resident in attendance said he found the event to be quite informative.

"It's very good because people get to come and voice their opinions and learn what they're [the RCMP] doing,” Perry Yelle, resident near Melville told CTV News.

With the City of Yorkton committing over 15 per cent of its 2024-2025 capital operating budget to the RCMP, council said the event helped inform the community on how tax dollars are being spent.

“Protective services is a huge part of the city,” said Coun. Quinn Haider.

“To have our RCMP here, as well as our fire protective services, answering questions and meeting with the public is super important.”

Based on comments from residents, Jones said focusing on impaired driving continues to be a top priority for his detachment.

"Impaired driving is one of our hugest mandates, and Saskatchewan continues to lead the country in impaired driving so it’s always big for us,” he explained.

“But, from what I heard today from the public is a lot of things are stolen vehicles and thefts. They want the RCMP to be concentrating on those things because those are things that have slightly risen, but it’s very apparent that there is being more vehicles stolen in and around the area."

Jones added that the information collected from the event will be reviewed by the RCMP.

“I’m going to have to bring this information back and have a performance plan for my detachment, and say ‘this is what people have brought forward, this is what they want the RCMP to concentrate on,’” he explained.

“Then in a year’s time, I have to come back and tell everyone ‘okay, this is what you asked for us to concentrate on, here’s what we did.’ In a years time we will see what happens.”

The meeting was held on March 28 at St. Mary’s Parish Ukrainian Catholic Cultural Centre.

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