The members of the Estevan Police Service were kept on their toes through the first six months of 2012.
According to figures provided by the EPS, the number of incidents that local officers were called on to handle was up by 36 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. Also the number of prisoners who have spent a night in the EPS cells has jumped by a remarkable 53 per cent.
"For the first three years of my term as chief of police here we have set new records every year with the growth of the city," Block said in an interview Friday with The Mercury. "We are on pace to set a new record in 2012 again for just about everything."
Block feels the increase is a direct result of the economic boom that the area is currently experiencing, noting that while the majority of people have moved to Estevan for the right reasons, there are a number who haven't.
"There are more and more people moving into town and unfortunately some of those people are here to be involved in the criminal aspect," he said.
"I've quit calling it an oil boom, I call it an energy sector boom. We've got the mines expanding, we've got power expanding, the oil industry is expanding. It's not just oil that is driving this. There are some huge projects going on at SaskPower; we've got a lot of transient workers, upwards of 600 on one job, so it's not just oil that is creating the problems.
In breaking down the numbers, Block said there are a handful of trends that he found alarming. Of note was the increase in arrests for drinking and driving.
Although Estevan has long had an issue with impaired driving, the increase through the first half of the year is rather shocking as there were 117 arrests which marks an increase of 78 per cent over 2011.
"It's actually very troubling to see this," he said. "The people that drink aren't getting the message not to drive. I'm not sure what else we can do. There are ads on TV. SGI has great education programs."
Block said part of the increase, may be due to the popular Report Impaired Drivers program that was started by SGI. He said R.I.D. has been very successful in the area as they have received a number of tips from concerned citizens.
"That could show a bit of the increase but there is still a huge problem when you've got a 78 per cent increase in charges. And the thing is that 78 per cent increase isn't everyone that drove out there, there are lots that didn't get caught too. From a public safety stance that is a huge issue as well because they are putting people at risk when they are driving impaired."
Block said they will continue their focus on taking drunk drivers off the streets, but added that outside of education there isn't much more they can do to get the message across to the public.
"I don't know what finally gets the message across."
Aside from the drunk driving numbers, Block said he was surprised, and worried, to see a large increase in sexual assaults. There were 18 charges laid this year, which is up from seven last year, an increase of 157 per cent.
"That could be just that more people are coming forward to report than used to or we have a definite increase."
Other areas that have seen an increase are provincial statutes which have risen by 66 per cent. Municipal bylaw tickets increased by 66 per cent and other Criminal Code offences have gone up by 57 per cent.
Among the areas that saw declines were drug trafficking and possession which were down by 56 and 11 per cent respectively. However, Block cautioned that decline might be due to a lack of arrests over the past few months.
"That could be we are just not catching them right now. We know the drugs are still an issue here in town."