Sault police credit task force with 20% drop in break and enters

Sault Ste. Marie Police Services Building (Supplied)

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service is crediting its break and enter task force as a big factor in reducing break-ins throughout the city.

Police say break and enters have decreased by 20 per cent since the task force was created in April, and while its seven-week campaign has ended, some tasks from the force will continue.

"Compliance checks with offenders have proven to get real, significant results," said Police Chief Hugh Stevenson. "They needed to be in their home between 9 and 6 in the morning and that led to the issue of, that criminal element started to listen."

From April 20 to June 4, police says there were 55 break and enters, a decrease from 69 throughout the same period last year.

"We wanted to show the community that we were there to protect them and I'm positive this shows it," Chief Stevenson said.

Those words are comforting to the owner of one downtown store, which was the victim of a break in back in early April.

"Since that happened, we haven't heard of any other crimes like that in the area, which shows the police are doing their job," said Dave Edgar, owner of Joe's Surplus and Sports. "When police patrols cruise throughout the area, you can't help but feel safe as a store owner and someone who lives here."

Edgar says his store is located in what he describes as being a "rougher" part of the city.

While he says break and enters are down, he hopes more will be done to help the neighbourhood.

"There's a lot of people down here -- which you can see -- they just really need help," he said.

That help could soon be on the way, Stevenson said.

"We've opened talks with several community leaders in order to implement some kind of treatment process within this cycle," he said. "This is as much of a mental-health issue as it is a police one, and we need to really ensure these people aren't falling through the cracks anymore."