Sackville’s escalating crime epidemic

The quaint town of Sackville has been undergoing an increase in criminal activity of varying degrees. While this is not necessarily an abnormal occurrence given the town’s history, rates have recently risen above the national average. The town’s population, consisting mainly of university students, elderly folks, and families, is small but condensed. Living in such a tight community could raise the risk of victimization for anyone living within the town. In contrast, a smaller town is convenient for better law enforcement, and therefore, risk prevention.

As of October 15th, 895 occurrences have been reported by the Sackville RCMP in 2023. This is lower than last year’s total. Most of the incidents were nonviolent and generally consisted of invocations of the Mental Health Act, fraud, break-ins, and theft. However, 25 assaults and one murder have taken place, bringing the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people to above Canada’s national average. If local crimes are becoming violent in nature, it could get difficult in terms of greater risk prevention. Even so, both violent and nonviolent crimes are observed as equally concerning issues based on specific accounts.

Fraud is the most common offence reported to be committed in Sackville. The most well-known scandal was that of Marie Lysianne Steeves. In July 2020, Steeves was sentenced to 12 months in prison for stealing $57,000 from a local preschool and pharmacy. Steeves’ fraudulent activity was ongoing for seven years prior to her sentence.

A sudden influx of thefts began in the summer of 2023. Several individuals reported losing packages, bicycles, and vehicles. The Sackville RV Center had a tent trailer stolen —they have yet to find the culprit. In addition, a motor home was stolen from a local resident but was recovered without clues of who was responsible. 

On September 10, two minors stole a school bus in Sackville, NB. Later, in Nova Scotia, they attempted to drive a sedan into a police officer twice. They then  were confronted after breaking into a store in Truro on Highway 311, where they attempted to murder another RCMP officer. They were both detained by September 14 and indicted with numerous violent offenses.

There are limited details surrounding the recent assaults, however, there was one report of a resident being the victim of a stabbing. He had allegedly received stab wounds when attempting to stop a suspect from breaking into a vehicle.

According to an RCMP news release dated  October 13, 2023, a 62-year-old man was charged with the first-degree murder of a woman. She had passed away in her home on King Street. The woman’s name is Marlene Cheryl Crossman, and she was the beloved manager of the Amherst Theatre. The man, Roger Crossman, will go through a psychiatric evaluation before his next court appearance.

These violent acts define the crime epidemic as a major escalation amongst locals. There are ways that you can reduce risk of harm to yourself and the community. Locking homes, vehicles, and personal belongings, traveling with company, and keeping up-to-date with public safety alerts is recommended for citizens. It is always helpful to share information to your peers, and spread awareness about current situations around the community.

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