Project L.E.A.R.N. stats show police kept busy this fall
London Community News
The London Police Service concluded its fall Project L.E.A.R.N. on Sunday (Sept. 30) , reporting a jump in the number of provincial offence notices issued.
Successive L.E.A.R.N. projects have addressed quality of life issues and targeted specific geographic areas traditionally plagued with nuisance-type behaviours. L.E.A.R.N project members enforced bylaws related to parties, parking, open fires, noise, litter and public urination, stated a police news release. Provincial offences were strictly enforced in relation to excess alcohol consumption, open alcoholic containers in public, public intoxication, illegal sale of alcohol and any related offences.
The most severe behaviours warranted criminal charges such as causing a disturbance and mischief.
The fall 2012 L.E.A.R.N. statistics show police laid 61 criminal charges were laid and 2,293 provincial offence notices were issued. This compares to 2011 where 62 criminal charges were laid and 1,353 provincial offence notices were issued. In 2010, there were 57 criminal charges and 1,725 provincial offences as compared to 2009, which had 81 criminal charges and 1,657 provincial offence notices.
Non-students accounted for 88.5 per cent of the criminal charges and 44.3 per cent of the provincial offences that were laid during the duration of the project.
A strict no-tolerance approach, electronic ticketing capabilities and additional resources of five officers were factors that contributed to the significant increase in provincial offences over last year.
“What we experienced this year was a significant increase in responsible student behaviour as the majority of offences addressed by L.E.A.R.N. officers were committed by individuals who were not students,” said London Police Chief Brad Duncan. “Overall our approach has also been very proactive in terms of engaging our community partners including neighborhood associations, housing mediators, landlords, bar owners and municipal law enforcement officers which has clearly helped with our messaging.”
This final weekend of L.E.A.R.N. was Western University Homecoming. Many people celebrated homecoming in the neighbourhoods adjacent to the university grounds and Project L.E.A.R.N. officers responded to large gatherings, including one of 1,000 people. Although these large gatherings were well managed and dispersed by the officers, they required significant resources to keep under control.
London police will be focusing more proactive resources to these areas next year to ensure the safety of students, residents and alumni.
Duncan said the London police, in collaboration with Western University and Fanshawe College student unions and administrators, have “worked very hard” to educate students and promote responsible behaviour.
The London Police Service, Duncan said, will continue to monitor activities throughout the school year to ensure that neighbourhoods remain free from “boisterous and unwanted noise or illegal behaviours.”
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