TAY VALLEY TOWNSHIP - Societal changes are starting to show up in domestic violence statistics.
For the first time that he can remember, Insp. Gerry Salisbury, detachment commander for the Lanark County OPP, revealed that of the 59 domestic assault calls that his officers responded to in the last quarter of 2012, one was for an altercation with a female same-sex couple.
"(Also) we are starting to see more male victims," said Salisbury. "There were five male victims. That number (of males) I rarely saw it more than one," in the past he said during his presentation to the Tay Valley Township police services board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Overall, there was a drop from 64 domestic assault calls in the third quarter of 2012 to 59 in the last quarter. He did hasten to add that the increase in male numbers could be partially attributed to the man pressing charges against his female partner, with the female pressing similar charges at the same time, during the same incident.
"It is interesting to see changes in demographics," said Salisbury. "(But) that is unacceptable too. Any domestic assault is unacceptable."
NO TAY TRAFFIC FATALITIES IN 2012
There were no traffic fatalities in Tay Valley, which "is the first time in three years we haven't had a fatal in Tay Valley," said Salisbury.
Throughout the county, "the key for us is our number of fatals. Those are the time consumers.”
In terms of false alarms, there also appeared to be peaks and valleys across the county.
"Carleton Place is still fairly high," said Salisbury. "Here in Tay Valley, they are down (and there are) no repeat offenders. I find that interesting. I don't know why. We used to have a few repeat offenders."
Sometimes several possible charges can emerge from one incident, but the accused is not always charged with all of the possible charges. Salisbury used the example of someone driving over the speed limit, while drunk behind the wheel. A prosecutor is more likely to seek a conviction on the drunk driving charge than the speeding charge because of the precedent of case law.
Another example would be someone who breaks-and-enters a house to steal, say, a television set. Breaking a door to get in would count as mischief.
"We can report the mischief," explained Salisbury. "But we can't charge. The kicking in of the door, that is still mischief. That is still doing damage to someone's house. It skews the good work the officers have done," because while the mischief is reported, there would be no clearance rate for it because no charges would have been laid, which is why Salisbury said he is hesitant to record mischief statistics in his documentation.
In recent months, the OPP has been focusing on dealing with break-and-enters throughout the county, with a degree of success with a rising clearance rate.
"Now, we are shifting a bit to traffic," said Salisbury, before adding that property crimes "are still an important issue for us."