A new report is bolstering the call by the London Police Service to reconstitute their innovative crime prevention unit.
The Community Oriented Response (COR) Unit focused on pro-active crime prevention until it was disbanded in November 2021 and its officers redeployed to frontline service to keep up with soaring 9-1-1 call volumes.
A new report to the London Police Services Board (LPSB) on “problem-oriented policing” highlights several short-term initiatives in 2022 that demonstrate the value of crime prevention.
After a sudden rise in break and enters at student rentals near Western University, officers met with 50 members of the community to discuss “target hardening” and auxiliary officers were strategically deployed on high visibility patrols.
The number of break and enters in the area dropped from 47 during the previous two months to just 14 between Jan. 21 and March 30 – a 70 per cent decrease.
A graph depicts the number of residential break and enters in the area of Western University in London, Ont. (Source: Submitted)
“Those preventative projects have a huge impact on occurrences within specific hotspots, so we’ve got a shift back into a proactive model,” Deputy Chief Trish McIntyre told the board.
London police have asked city hall to fund the hiring of 52 new officers to address response times that the deputy chief admits are “poor.”
McIntyre said the first batch of hiring’s would permit starting to rebuild the COR Unit and its crime prevention role.
“I see in the first year 2023, if the first 17 [hires] are approved, we would hope to start to re-populate the COR Unit, and maybe it’s one body maybe it’s two,” she explained.
City council will consider the funding request for new officers when its report on tax assessment growth is available this spring.