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Looking past the numbers

It definitely puts an uneasy feeling in your stomach.

For the first time in eight years, crime has increased, the criminal violations reaching their highest point in Durham Region since 2011. On top of that, it seems the particularly violent types of crime are all on the rise with the Durham Regional Police not only responding to more calls of assault and assault with a weapon than last year, but the most they’ve done so since 2012, according to the recent annual report.

However, statistics are fickle. While the overall trend of an 8.3 per cent increase in crime may tell us one thing, it does very little to show the amazing work, life-saving initiatives, and future planning insights that the DRPS put forward this year.

The crime stats don’t show the hours officers spend on the freezing cold roadsides during the Festive RIDE campaign, a program that stopped nearly 14,000 vehicles and pulled more than 200 impaired drivers off the road, or the education campaign and public awareness work that has led to a 41 per cent drop in the number of distracted drivers on our roads.

The crime stats don’t show the operators behind the 911 phone calls who make life-saving decisions every day, even in the scariest moments, and it doesn’t show that they’ve been doing so for 25 years in Durham Region.

The crime stats don’t show Cst. Pam Devine, who received the PFLAG award for being a “champion against homophobia and transphobia,” or S/Sgt. Cathy Bawden who was recognized by the Ontario Women in Law Enforcement and the International Association of Women Police for her mentoring work.

They don’t show that the DRPS is one of only three police services in Canada to offer an after-school Youth in Policing program, and wouldn’t you know it, the youth crime rate has decreased in Durham by 20 per cent between 2013 and 2015.

Finally, the numbers don’t show the early mornings and late nights, or the physical and mental toll that the job of a police officer can take on a person. The numbers don’t show that it is all of the situations that a person would rather avoid in life, that the 871 officers of the DRPS are trained to deal with.

So when reading the story on Page 7, be sure to remember to look past the numbers, because there’s a lot more to the story.

And to Chief Paul Martin and every single police officer, auxiliary officer, police service dog, 911 responder and everyone on the DRPS that is working to make this city safe, we here at The Oshawa Express thank you and continue to keep up the great work you do.