Kenora Ontario Provincial Police have released its preliminary crime statistics for 2016.
One statistic that jumps out is an increase in sexual assault charges. That number rose from 31 in 2015 to 42 this past year, an increase of 35.5 per cent.
Acting inspector and detachment commander Paul Van Belleghem discussed why there may be such an increase.
“I think it's more of a case of people being willing to come forward, willing to make a report,” Van Belleghem said. “In that sense, I think that is a positive thing. It's certainly not a positive thing that those occurrences are taking place, it's a horrible horrible crime. But I think it's a positive thing that people are feeling comfortable to come forward.”
Property crime charges went down by nearly 20 per cent in 2016, while traffic related offences were up -- including double the amount of seat belt charges than in 2015 (64 to 128).
There was also a 10 per cent increase in speeding charges, with 235 charges laid in 2016 compared to 213 in 2015.