Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


A Saint John Police Force cruiser is pictured in this file photo. Image: Aaron Sousa

Violent Crime Increase Linked To Drug Trade: Chief

By Brad Perry Dec 8, 2022 | 1:25 PM

Saint John is seeing a rise in violent crimes, according to new figures provided to the city’s police commission.

Police have dealt with 775 violent crime files as of Oct. 31, up from 710 over the same period last year. They include instances of assault, robbery, weapons offences, and threats.

Speaking with reporters after Tuesday’s police commission meeting, Chief Robert Bruce said “the greed in the drug trade” has contributed to the increase

“Where we see the increase in violent crime, we can attribute some of that to mental health, but if you look at the overall picture, you can relate that to drug activity,” said Bruce.

Police reported an average of 77 violent crime files per month so far this year. In October, that number was above average at 93.

Bruce said they are focused on getting the major drug players off the streets, not going after individual users.

“Nobody’s trying to arrest a drug user, that’s not who we’re after. Our possession charges are virtually non-existent. We’re after the drug traffickers, the people that prey on those who use substances,” he said.

The chief pointed to recent drug seizures made as part of Operation Caliper, a drug trafficking investigation involving officers from Saint John, the Kennebecasis Valley, and the Department of Justice and Public Safety.

Last week, officers searched a home in Saint John’s north end and seized pills thought to be fentanyl, cocaine, crystal meth, hydromorphone, methamphetamine and percocet with an estimated street value of $80,000.

Officers also seized two loaded guns, a crossbow, more than $14,000 in cash, and about $20,000 worth of contraband cigarettes. Five men and women between the ages of 30 and 70 were arrested in connection with the search.

Police also searched a north end residence on Nov. 17 and seized about $43,000 of what they believe to be cocaine, along with more than $5,000 in cash. A 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were arrested.

Meanwhile, the number of reported property crimes has fallen by about 10 per cent to 1,795 as of the end of October, though Bruce does not think the number of property crimes is down.

“People get numb to things and may not report,” he said. “That’s what’s reported to us and we can only deal with what’s reported.”

The number of mental health-related calls continues to increase this year, up 11 per cent over last year to 1,645 calls.

Impaired driving arrests are on par with last year at 79 while the number of motor vehicle collisions has increased slightly to 1,555.

Overall, the police force has received 47,641 calls for service — an average of 157 per day — which is up about one per cent.


Leave a Reply