Officers with the Kenora OPP are reporting a significant increase in calls for service in their latest quarterly report.

During a Police Services Board meeting earlier this week, Detachment Commander for the Kenora OPP, Jeff Duggan, says calls for service in March were listed at 1,392, a significant increase over March, 2020. In February 2021, the OPP reported 1,149 calls.

For violent crimes, Duggan says sexual assaults are down overall this year after police reported an increase in these crimes in early 2020. 2021’s first quarter assaults are down and no robberies have been reported, but Duggan says their Community Street Crime Unit continues to be busy with drug crimes.

Property crimes are up slightly, as are break and enter crimes. Duggan notes officers have put an end to a recent string of residential breaking and entering incidents, but they continue to be an issue in Kenora.

“We did have a couple of people who were out there breaking into some residences. One was just arrested. So that’s a good thing for sure. For theft, it’s the same trend. It’s still bikes, sheds, garages and so forth.”

The OPP is reporting another significant increase in fraud calls. Duggan says many surround residents being asked to purchase gift cards and send their information to the caller, which is an ongoing international scam.

As well, officers are continuing to report the theft of fuel and mail packages, issues being seen province-wide, and officers are investigating a major fraud investigation in Kenora. Duggan notes this investigation is expected to continue for ‘quite some time.’

On local roadways, the OPP responded to 18 collisions in March with 15 of them causing property damage. There was 1 fatal accident in March, and officers are following up on 2 ongoing public complaints.

The OPP has laid 62 Highway Traffic Act provincial offence tickets and 0 Criminal Code of Canada traffic crimes.

Duggan notes overall, as officers work to develop and strengthen ongoing community partnerships and new deferral programs like the mobile crisis response team and a number of bail programs, the Kenora OPP has continued to see a significant reduction in Criminal Code of Canada non-traffic charges.

“That’s been a reduction since 2016. That’s a positive thing. The bail verification supervision program gives people chances to get back on track. That’s restorative justice, and that’s officers using their discretion so we don’t fill up the courts.”

Last month, Duggan explained that Kenora’s downtown cameras have been instrumental in helping officers solve crime. He explained a camera caught the entirety of a recent break and enter incident, and the OPP is tracking how useful these cameras can be if more funded is needed to expand the program in the future. As it stands, the cameras cover every inch of Main Street.

Moving forward, officers will be looking to launch their marine unit’s patrols on local waterways ahead of the summer season.