Councillors hear from OPP that Puslinch crime rate very low

Property crime declined steadily since 2006 in Puslinch, but still remains a problem.

There were about 130 incidents last year, about 27 per 1,000 people in Puslinch – a rate which is 23% higher than the county rate (22 incidents).  In 2006, the property crime rates for Ontario and Canada were 28 and 36 respectively.

However, OPP Inspector Scott Smith is “very pleased” Puslinch is one of the only municipalities in the county where property crime was down. He suggested the long-awaited Highway 6 bypass around Morriston may improve the property crime rate, as the car park there is regularly targeted for break-ins and thefts.

Violent crime in Puslinch has gone up by about 23% since 2007, with about 32 incidents last year.

Smith said the rise is attributed mostly to domestic incidents, which could be caused by the recession, and not an increase in sexual or stranger-on-stranger assaults.

Traffic collisions in the township are way down since 2003 – from about 280 that year to close to 180 in 2009. Smith said he thinks lowering the speed limit on Highway 6 in and around Aberfoyle has helped.

But one thing that still disturbs Smith is deaths on local roads, which, over the past five years have numbered nine. He said speed is “a huge issue” and 40% of all road fatalities involve alcohol.

Overall, Smith stressed the crime rate in Puslinch is still very low.

But he said things can always get better, and he urged residents to take any steps possible to discourage or prevent crime, including:

– always locking vehicle, house, and shed doors;

– removing valuable items from cars;

– adding more light to areas or buildings that house important items; and

– closing overhead gar­age doors, particularly at night.

“Everybody has a role to play in crime prevention,” he said.

Smith said officials will monitor the township’s Road Watch program, which is ex­pected to be unveiled this fall. It could be expanded across the county.