According to numbers provided by the Ontario Provincial Police, between the end of February and the end of November last year 11, 929 crimes had been committed in Dryden, a city of 7500 people, as compared to 16,542 committed in the same time frame in Kenora, a community more than double the size of Dryden.
In a presentation to city council in Dryden Monday, representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed the suspicions held many in the community regarding the drug trade.
"The drugs that are seized predominantly are meth, fentanyl and cocaine," said Detachment Commander Adam Illman. "This is of course due to many social factors, but Dryden has in fact become a hub community for trafficking in drugs. This is due GTA gangs through Thunder Bay, biker gangs and other gangs."
The presentation also cited since 2018 there have been nine deaths attached to seven homicide investigations in the community, with six being connected to drugs.
Screenshot of crime trends for the City of Dryden as compared to other nearby communities. March 27,2023
While drugs and other serious crimes remain high on the radar for the OPP, some on city council are also seeking information on other significant matters, specifically as Councillor Ritchie Noel puts it, in relation to the highway.
"What's happening with the highway safety division because we used to have a very good highway safety division here, and I know from what I do for a living, that it moved the needle."
The answer to Noels question came from Staff Sergeant Ben Curtis, who notes coordination with patrols from the rural areas and the Ignace detachment are cracking down on highway issues, but he admits it has been deadly with seven fatal collisions so far this year.
"Definitely still a priority for us, at the Police Services Board we report our traffic numbers to them every month. I didn't include that in this report but we're seeing increases, which could be attributed to the fact that we've doubled the number of our force."
According to Curtis there are three officers at the Dryden detachment dedicated to the Traffic Unit.