Thompson, Man. is often compared with North Battleford regarding crime. Here’s a look at recent events in Thompson.
Fire kills two people in Norway House, reads the headline on the Thompson Citizen website.
After the fire was extinguished, firefighters located two bodies. Autopsies are scheduled to determine their identities and the cause of death and RCMP and the Office of the Fire Commissioner continue to investigate.
Another headline, 16-year-old arrested after complaint of vehicle break-ins on Cornell Place
A 16-year-old male youth was arrested shortly before 1 a.m. Oct. 10 by police responding to a complaint of people breaking into vehicles on Cornell Place in Eastwood.
Thompson RCMP are still looking for a 13-year-old male youth who they intend to arrest for the same incident. Multiple charges are expected to be laid against both suspects.
One ounce of cocaine seized after Thompson traffic stop
RCMP officers pulled the vehicle over at 10:51 p.m. and ended up finding and seizing one ounce of individually bagged cocaine.
Youth armed with hatchet arrested
A 17-year-old armed with a hatchet was arrested Oct. 12 around 10 p.m. after police received reports of an armed youth.
The suspect faces charges for multiple weapons offences and breaches of court orders and was remanded into custody.
Church monitor and donations stolen
A computer monitor and donations were stolen from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints during a break-in Sept. 29 or Sept. 30.
The break-in was reported to Thompson RCMP around 1 p.m. Sept. 30. Investigation determined that the burglar or burglars smashed a window and then forced their way into the office of the church on Copper Road sometime between 5 p.m. Sept. 29 and 1 p.m. Sept. 30.
Two women busted for coke at Thompson Inn
Two women arrested in the Thompson Inn Oct. 12 face charges for drug possession and other offences, RCMP say.
Police attended the hotel around 12:55 a.m. Saturday morning in response to a call about a bar patron punching a staff member. An 18-year-old woman from Thompson was arrested and police discovered cocaine while searching her.
About 23 hours later, just before midnight Saturday, Thompson RCMP received a report that a 24-year-old woman was in the Thompson Inn in violation of court release conditions. They arrived and arrested her, discovering cocaine during a search. She faces charges of drug possession and breaching a court order and was remanded into custody.
Suspected drunk drivers observed with no headlights and driving on the wrong side of the road
Two drivers were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Thompson Oct. 12-13.
Thompson RCMP officers on patrol around 2:30 a.m. Oct. 12 saw a vehicle driving on the wrong side of Mystery Lake Road and conducted a traffic stop. The driver, a 33-year-old woman from Thompson, provided samples of her breath which were more than twice the legal limit of blood-alcohol content. She was subsequently released to appear in court at a later date.
Police saw a vehicle with no headlights around 10:30 p.m. Oct. 13 near Mystery Lake Road and Selkirk Avenue. Breath samples provided by the driver, a 30-year-old man from Alberta, exceeded the legal limit of blood-alcohol content. He was later released to appear in court on a future date.
‘It’s like a war zone,’ recent break-in victim tells public safety committee
The youth crime wave in Thompson over the past few months is affecting people’s sense of security, a resident whose house was targeted during a spate of residential break-and-enters this week told the city’s public safety committee Oct. 10.
“This is not normal for a community to be like this,” said Aaron Compton. “I’ve got a little girl that’s afraid to sleep in her room. It’s like a war zone.”
Compton said the people responsible should be told to leave town or a curfew imposed to gain control over the situation. Anywhere else, he said, this would be considered a state of emergency.
Thompson RCMP Staff Sgt. Christopher Hastie said police are making extraordinary efforts to catch those responsible, pointing to the fact that RCMP recently got a court order allowing them to publish the name and photo of a 16-year-old suspect from Wabowden.
“It’s very rare to publicize and offender [who is] a young person,” he said. “We are catching some kids and charging them.”
Seven arrests were made after 11 break-and-enters or attempts were reported in Westwood and Deerwood Oct. 7-8. Five of those arrested were charged. One, who was only 10 years old, could not be, which Hastie admits is frustrating for police and for crime victims.
“Youth crime obviously remains an issue for us,” said Thompson RCMP detachment officer-in-charge Insp. Brian Edmonds, who later responded to a question from Coun. Duncan Wong about whether police are checking vacant houses by saying that they had found one that was being used by youth who may be involved in crime.
“One vacant house did surface during the incidents on Monday night and Tuesday morning that we’re aware of.” Edmonds said.
So far in 2019 there have been 153 more assaults and 17 more break-and-enters than in the first nine months of 2018.
Coun. Les Ellsworth said Thompson has 38 RCMP officers but seems to have enough crime to keep twice that number busy.
“There’s a lot of work out there to be done,” he said.
The mayor, councillors and city staff met with representatives from Manitoba Justice earlier Oct. 10 to discuss the $300,000 public safety strategy that the provincial government announced last spring would be forthcoming for Thompson.
“From what we heard, it has the minister’s attention,” said city manager Anthony McInnis, who has recently been in touch with former Thompson city manager Randy Patrick, now the chief administrative officer in North Battleford, Sask., about strategies they are using to combat similar programs. Asked if Patrick had said whether North Battleford was having similar problems with youth, McInnis said problems there tended to result from criminals heading to North Battleford to escape their troubles in smaller communities.
“He said most of his was actually related to gangs,” said Mcinnis. “The fallout’s the same.”
“We were clear that this [development of a public safety strategy] needed to happen right away,” said public safety committee chair Coun. Jeff Fountain. “This is one of our highest priorities.”