Detachment commander responds to policing concerns

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Insp. Lisa Anderson of Norfolk OPP.

Insp. Lisa Anderson of Norfolk OPP.


Norfolk's interim OPP Inspector Lisa Anderson had a chance to address some growing concerns among certain county councillors on Wednesday.

At the monthly Norfolk Police Services Board meeting, Anderson responded to comments made by Port Rowan Coun. Noel Haydt and Langton Coun. Roger Geysens during the Feb. 1 council meeting. Both councillors suggested there is a lack of police presence in their wards.

Also discussed at the Feb. 1 meeting was a high crime rate in Simcoe compared to the rest of Norfolk.

“I think it's very safe to say that every community wants to have a high police presence and visibility,” Anderson said.

“As the detachment commander for Norfolk County, it's my job to look at Norfolk County as a whole and direct resources to where they'll have the biggest impact on public safety.”

Anderson spoke about the need for “mutual ownership and accountability” from community members and leaders when it comes to crime prevention.

“I'm quite happy with the efforts of our officers and the efforts they continue to make in Norfolk County, but we can not be in all communities at all times and we know we can't do it alone,” Anderson said. “Having police as the only accountable body for public safety in your community will greatly hamper your success and build unrealistic expectations for your police service.”

Anderson said Norfolk's crime rates have decreased over the last seven years, including a 37 per cent reduction in violent crime, a 33 per cent decrease in property crime and 46 per cent reduction of mischief.

On the other hand, Norfolk's officers have experienced a 71 per cent increase in calls for mental health issues in the last five years and a 121 per cent increase in the last seven.

“This is why we need help from community support services, family members, neighbours, community leaders to make sure we identify those in need of services and get them the support they need before the situation becomes repetitive and escalates,” Anderson added.

“Police are very good at what they do and what they do is crime prevention through enforcement – we can make significant impacts on criminal activity which I believe our officers have demonstrated over the last five to seven years, but we will not have an impact on social disorder issues.”

As it relates to high crime rates in Simcoe, Anderson pointed out that many crime rates are down, including violent crime, which has decreased 35 per cent in the last seven years and assaults being down 27 per cent in that same time.

“The analysis shows we are having a significant impact on crime in Simcoe and the surrounding county,” Anderson said.

“I would say that balancing the decreasing crime trends currently with equitable police service to the rest of the county, the current model is working quite well.”

PSB member and Ward 4 (Windham Centre) Coun. Jim Oliver put forth a motion that Anderson make a deputation at a future Norfolk council meeting, which passed unanimously. The board applauded Anderson and her staff for their efforts.

“I am honestly amazed at how much work our detachment does,” said Mayor Charlie Luke, who chaired the meeting in place of Peter Hellyer, who was absent.

“I'm really impressed at the work that's being done and the results. Of course, the education component cannot be overlooked ... I tell people I feel very safe in our county and certainly in the town of Simcoe.”