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Holiday season a heightened time for family disputes

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 06:00 am

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The holiday season is always a busy time for the St. Albert RCMP as officers deal with more issues related to alcohol consumption and family disputes, said Cpl. Laurel Kading.

Between the early morning of Dec. 31 until midnight of Jan 1, the local RCMP detachment received 52 calls from local residents.

Seven of the calls were related to collisions, while two were on impaired drivers, and one about a gas-and-dash from a city gas station. Many of the other calls were related to arguments, she said.

“The evenings were fairly busy, the day times were fairly quiet,” Kading said. “Our problems were typically alcohol related and that tends to flare up after people have had more to drink at night.”

Compared to other years, it was a fairly regular New Year’s night, she said.

In 2012, the RCMP received 56 calls from residents between midnight of Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, she said, and 60 calls in 2011.

New Year’s Eve also tends to be busier than the days on and around Christmas, she added, as people tend to celebrate the two holidays very differently. While New Year's Eve sees more issues with alcohol, Christmas tends to be a heightened time for disputes over child custody.

“It’s just a really difficult time I think for families that are having to share children and have custody arrangements,” she said. “It can be a time where we may be called up for advice or to make sure that one parent is honouring their agreement.”

The number of calls received during the holiday season is on par with other busy nights of the year.

On a regular Friday night in July, the RCMP can get anywhere between 70 and 90 calls, while a Friday in January may only see about 40 calls. Complaints at these times are more often regarding issues with theft and mischief, such as loud music or illegal trespassing, Kading said.

While about half a dozen people remained in the detachment’s holding cells overnight on New Year’s Eve, only two charges were laid for impaired driving. The main concern for the RCMP that night is to be out on the road and be visible, Kading said.

“Making sure we are looking at traffic stops and that we are encouraging people to find safe ways home,” she said.


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