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Peterborough police’s Community FIRST team busy with property crime calls

The new Community FIRST team has kept police in Peterborough, Ont., busy tackling property crimes.

Launched in January 2024 as a pilot project, the Community-Focused Investigation and Response Support Team features four frontline Peterborough Police Service officers who focus on property crimes such as break-ins and thefts, mischief and shoplifting in Peterborough, the Village of Lakefield and Cavan-Monaghan Township.

The police service says property crime within its jurisdiction has risen nearly 30 per cent over the past five years.

“We know that there are instances where people are committing multiple crimes and it’s the same person. So how do we address it? We address it through a unit like this,” police chief Stuart Betts said during the launch.

On Thursday, Global News Peterborough videographer Tricia Mason joined the team during a patrol. The calls for service that morning included one from the Home Depot on Lansdowne Street West for an alleged shoplifting incident.

Two officers approached the suspect and were able to recover the goods. The suspect was identified and it was determined there was an existing warrant for his arrest.

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Staff Sgt. Lain Schubert says the response to the pilot project has been positive.

“The positive feedback has been incredible and it’s not something we always hear as police. And it’s very nice to hear,” Schubert said. “Ultimately, we live in this community, too, and we want what’s best. And there’s a lot of good people and organizations in this town. If we work together in this town collaboratively we can make this successful. It’s never going to be perfect but its going to be better and we are committed to that.”

The police service reports that, as of Feb. 8, the Community FIRST team has responded to 195 calls, including 55 instances where property was returned, and made 58 arrests.

Schubert said he has noticed a difference the team has made in just two months of operation. Schubert also said the aim is not to make an arrest unless it is warranted. Instead, he says officers have additional time to connect with individuals who require additional help.

“Taking the time is so important and the benefits or that we are seeing tofold already.”

“Taking that time is so important and the benefits of that we are seeing twofold already,” he said.

The service will maintain Community FIRST for the remainder of the year. It’s future has yet to be determined.

– With files from Tricia Mason/Global News Peterborough

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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