There’s was a sharp spike in crime in Kugluktuk during November and December of 2018 compared to the same months in 2017.
While this is the first holiday season since the community lifted alcohol restrictions last fall, officials say the data isn’t directly traceable to easing of rules.
Calls for service increased by 77.5 per cent to 142 in November 2018 from 80 in November 2017, and prisoners lodged by RCMP in the community grew to 38 from 16 in the same months, respectively.
In December, which typically sees an increase in crime, calls for service jumped to 158 in 2018 from 85 in 2017, and prisoners lodged jumped to 40 from 15 in the same months.
“Please be advised that the … stats cannot be attributed to any one factor and we do not have comparables for the territory or other neighbouring communities,” stated Danielle Pollock, media relations for Nunavut’s RCMP division.
Kugluktuk senior administrative officer Don LeBlanc says it’s still much too early to determine the effects of the new liquor rules, and it wouldn’t be fair to judge the change’s impact at this point.
Last October, 61 per cent of Kugluktuk residents voted to end liquor restrictions in the community that forced residents to apply to a committee for permission to bring in orders of beer, wine and spirits.
“Christmas just passed, and during Christmas you get that extra [crime] anyways, so we’re not saying too much right now,” said LeBlanc. “We’re just keeping an eye on it and working closely with the RCMP.”
LeBlanc says the hamlet expected a “big bang” right after the change in rules, and that a bit of an effect has been seen, “but we really, honestly do feel it’s all going to level off in the end.”