Lac La Biche - "It's been a very long week," says Chris Clark, Manager of Enforcement Services.
Since schools, businesses, and events have shut down because of COVID-19, there has been a 15 per cent increase in municipal complaints for Lac La Biche County’s Peace Officers to deal with. The complaints are mostly traffic safety matters, community safety issues, and loitering.
Even though Lac La Biche RCMP have noticed a decrease in traffic collisions as more people are staying at home, there have been more traffic safety complaints, which Peace Officers handle.
“We have attributed the traffic safety complaints to the fact that lots of the youths are no longer in school, so they are driving around because they are bored,” says Clark. “Young people are driving around aimlessly, stunting, and doing donuts downtown.”
Other issues that are on the rise is loitering and public intoxication. Clark does not attribute the increase of either one to the COVID-19 issue. He believes it’s because of the weather.
“It’s just due to this time of year,” says Clark. “We see it every year as the temperatures start to warm up. We end up with people loitering, and people getting drunk. Those people tend to hang around the downtown area when really they shouldn’t be - especially now that we all need to be social distancing.”
As the number of contracted case of the virus remains at zero for the community, the municipal peace oficers have gone to great lengths to help protect their own crew from contracting the virus like wearing personal protective equipment - gloves, boot covers, and they are stocked full protective overalls in case they have to deal with someone who is showing signs of having COVID-19. The Peace Officers are doing their part of Lac La Biche, and Clark recommends everyone take the necessary precautions to help out.
“We want to make sure people are being mindful and following all of the precautions,” says Clark. “The easiest way to slow this down and to help stop it is for people to be socially distant and to not congregate. We need to take this seriously.”