Cowichan’s prolific offender program a success: report

There’s been real success in both the prolific offender and domestic violence reduction programs, RCMP Inspector Ray Carantan told North Cowichan council on Sept. 3, as he presented his quarterly report.  

He focused on successes in the detachment’s prolific offender program.

This effort, which is concentrating on a few people who police believe might benefit from targeted help, has resulted in some heartening success and Carfantan wanted to share with councillors.

“It seems like we’re always talking about good stories and we do have some this time, too, in terms of managing some of people whose names are always coming up before us.”

“I have to say that [Const.] Eric Coyne puts his heart and soul into the prolific offender program. He’s been nominated for an award within the RCMP for spearheading that program and I hope that will come through for him,” Carfantan said.

Carfantan consulted Coyne for something from the first quarter to share with council.

“He talked to me about a female from our community who has been involved all up and down Vancouver Island but who resided in this area and who has been responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in lost property. She’s had a lot of ongoing contact with our prolific offender program and finally we were able to get her in a treatment program.

“To this day, Eric gets text messages from this lady who is now gainfully employed, back working in this area. She just bought a car and was so proud that she had to text him and tell him that she’d just bought a car. She’s also taking trades programming and getting a trades certification,” he said. “It’s a nice, feel-good story about someone who was costing us an awful lot of money. We really appreciate the effort that our guys are putting so much effort into that.

The inspector also touched on the domestic violence unit that was started in April as a pilot project with the province of British Columbia.

“It targeted our most retentive domestic violence offenders. We’ve seen some tremendous success with that already,” he said, explaining that Mounties are trying to take the same prolific offender management strategy to some families with difficult relationship issues.

“The difference largely in this pilot is that we spend as much time on the offenders as we do supporting the victims.”

Carfantan said there has been “significant impact” already in the small group involved. “We had 32 calls for service in 2012 and in 2013 and we’re down to four so far this year. We’re trying to be proactive, spending a lot of time and resources trying to deal with some of these more prolific crimes,” he said.

Coun. Ruth Hartmann suggested that council send a letter of support thanking Coyne for his efforts in the prolific offender program and the rest of council readily agreed to the idea.

Coun. Kate Marsh then added, “A large part of the municipal budget is policing and a lot of that is police having to deal with people who have mental illness of some kind. We are heading into an election and people get to saying that taxes are too high but if senior levels of government aren’t going to fund programs for people who are ill it falls to property owners to do it. I like to point that out, for the public’s sake.”