Thursday April 24, 2014

The year’s over- and under-covered crime


It is somewhat of a tradition in journalism to look back on the previous year, but not just at what made news, but to what we may have paid too much and/or too little attention.

In terms of crime, I would probably have to pick the cocaine busts story as having gotten too much local press. By sheer size of the operation involving multiple agencies over a period of five months resulting in 20 arrests and 88 charges, it was a big story.

And It all started pretty sensationally as police took down two suspects who were allegedly shaking down other dealers. A stabbing at the Kahkewistahaw Gas & Convenience Store on New Year’s Eve netted one of the suspects 30 months in federal prison.

Many more busts followed over the ensuing four months, which, of course, we followed intently as it appeared it might have ties to organized crime.

As the cases started to make their way through the court system, however, it all started to look more small-time. A couple of defendants pleaded out with little more than a slap on the wrist. One woman accused of possession of the proceeds of crime was acquitted for lack of evidence.

There are still cases before the courts, however, including the alleged ringleader. We will be watching in the New Year.

The story that perhaps got too little attention was crime reduction and prevention. I did do one-off stories about the RCMP keeping a closer eye on offenders on release, the Yorkton Community Unity group; victims services, 2012 statistics showing  a drop in Yorkton’s crime severity index ranking and the school divisions’ new threat assessment protocol. But there is an awful lot going on in town and I feel like a comprehensive feature on crime prevention is probably in order. It’s on my radar for when 2013 stats are released.

Looking forward, the big case on the horizon is the murder trial of Jaycee Mildenberger, who is accused of the 2009 killing of Gwenda Gregory in Usherville.

A voire dire is scheduled to begin March 3.



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