Police Activity Update – May 2023

Cobourg Police regularly provide media outlets such as Cobourg News Blog with a significant amount of detailed information about their activities.  Not all of it gets passed on to the Public but with this update, I’m attempting to do two things: 1.  Summarize recent information so you can better understand what Police do in a typical month and 2. List online sources where you can find out Police information more often. Cobourg Police provide information with regular News releases plus a comprehensive monthly Operations report.  Listed below are links to where you can see this information for yourself and of course you can also follow Pete Fisher’s reports on Today’s Northumberland.  But first, here’s a summary of available information.

News Releases

All media releases are emailed to media outlets and then posted on the Police web site within a few days.  Go here. Here is a summary of two releases issued Friday May 12:

  • A 34-year-old Cobourg woman is facing charges after police were called to a theft in progress. On Wednesday, May 10th, 2023, at 3:30 pm, police responded to a report of an individual shoplifting at a north-end business. Police arrived on scene and located a female in the parking lot in possession of the stolen property.
    As a result of the police investigation, the woman was charged with 5 offences including “Fail to Comply with Probation Order”.  She was held for a bail hearing later that same day and subsequently remanded into custody.
  • A 22-year-old Cobourg man is facing charges after an incident on Thursday evening May 11 at 7:30 p.m., in Victoria Park in Cobourg where a male was causing a disturbance. A man was “in an agitated state, yelling at a group in the park. Police drew and pointed a conducted energy weapon (also known as a Taser) in order to safely effect the arrest. The man was charged with “Causing Disturbance contrary to section 175(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.”  He was released on an undertaking with a future court date.  (Pete Fisher reports on this incident here)

Every two weeks, a news release provides an overview of break and enters, theft from motor vehicles, mischief, fraud, warrant arrests and distraction thefts.  See Resources downloads for the May 12 report.

But the biggest source of information on Police Activity is the monthly operations report issued at the monthly Police Board meeting.  The report is included in the meeting agenda available on escribe. The April report is available in Resources below but there is a new report each month on the agenda for the Police monthly meeting.

Monthly Operations Report – highlights for April 2023

For the full report, see Resources below

  • There were 1118 calls for Service in April. Of these:
    • 8 were violence (assaults including sexual assaults)
    • 33 were property crimes – 11 break and enter
    • 19 were mental health
    • 31 were domestic or family dispute
    • 5 were fraud
  • There were 148 officer patrols (on foot)
  • Officers responded to 3 issues related to the unsanctioned safe consumption sites
  • There were approximately 24 events requiring a police response to Transition House on Chapel Street.

Homelessness and Addiction Response Program Activity Report (HARP)

  • HARP completed approximately 18 foot patrols in the downtown area. In that time HARP had approximately 82 separate interactions with 51 people who are currently struggling with homelessness and/or addictions.
  • HARP actively assists uniform patrol officers by responding to calls for service in the downtown core linked to suspicious/unwanted persons. HARP responded to 42 calls for service in this time.
  • HARP holds persons accountable and assists with enforcing compliance with court orders. HARP conducted 5 arrests for persons with outstanding matters and facilitated their appearance before the courts. In addition HARP assisted with transporting persons to attending their court dates.

Detailed reports were provided on 8 “Investigative Occurrences”.

See this page for more about the Police Board.  Included is a list of the monthly Crime reports starting January 2022. Links are included.

Other info from Police Board Meeting

Board meetings also include items of interest that are different each month.  For example, April’s meeting accepted 3 letters from Citizens plus details of a new “Downtown Action Plan”.

These can be accessed via the Meeting Agenda on escribe
Two from Robert Horgan who complained about a failure of Police to listen to his complaints about domestic violence. 
One from Lawyer Richard Irvine unhappy with “unhoused persons on Covert St” who trespass on his property and leave refuse behind such as needles.

Unfortunately, the Police Services act does not permit the Board to direct the Police on day to day mattersSee this page. So the letters will be “received for Information purposes” and it will be up to the Chief how he responds.

Downtown Action Plan
There is now a document outlining what Police plan to do Downtown (to address the homeless problem).

…. strategically focus on enhancing the perception of safety and invest in the quality-of-life issues in downtown Cobourg. The launch of the Downtown Action Plan will be a constellation of proactive crime prevention initiatives and will formalize various harm reduction related programs.

That is, it’s not simple, there are several things to be done.

If you wonder what Police plan to do about the homeless downtown, read this 7 page plan (the “Downtown Action Plan”) – it’s available in Downloads below.



Local Web sites with good reporting on Public Safety


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1 year ago

Dave and his supporters: it’s called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Look it up. Better yet – read it

Old Sailor
1 year ago

Wondering if the Town, County, Province and Federal governments are working on plans to reduce the sale of illegal drugs to all residents including the homeless? Not just an “Education” plan but a “Law Enforcement” plan regarding the sale of drugs. The law enforcement aspect of the drug problem does not appear to get much attention. I hope I am wrong on this observation. Do Federal laws have to change? Where does the buck stop?? And who has to start the ball rolling?

Cobourg taxpayer
1 year ago

I find it astonishing that Cobourg Police Service needs 25 CCTV cameras to help solve local crime. There are 40 sworn officers more or less and many special constables who can only hand out warnings. How many times have court cases been thrown out because video feed was blurry and unreadable? The Cobourg taxpayer pays millions per year for the services of CPS and we’ve been told over the years that crime is decreasing etc but now suddenly crime is not going down after all and it’s just been smoke and mirrors and 25 cameras are needed to help all these cops solve crime????

Last edited 1 year ago by Cobourg taxpayer
Chief Paul VandeGraaf
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
1 year ago

So let me correct some of your misinformation here. Special Constables have legislated authority to lay charges under many different Federal, Provincial and Municipal acts. All of our team, do at time, issue warnings instead of charging someone. As far as as crime rates, if you were at the public meeting, the facts from Stats Canada prove your comment about crime rates is not accurate. Yes certain crimes are up, and others are down. When you use the word “crime” you need define what you mean….many people use that term to mean lots of other issues associated to social disorder that are not necessarily crime. As far as the grant funded community mesh network, that includes cameras, they will assist in crime identification and investigation. They are not a stand alone solution to anything. As always, you are welcome to come and meet with me, I will show you the network, show you the stats, and open your eyes to the truth.

Reply to  Chief Paul VandeGraaf
1 year ago

I appreciate your response to Cobourg Taxpayer, Chief VandeGraaf, but I truly fail to see how quoting stats can help to deal with the problems we’re facing right now in Cobourg. The perfect example of what I’m referring to, is the “takedown and arrest” of the out of control fellow last Thursday night in Victoria Park, who terrorized two 14 year old girls. I’m sure neither one of these young women will ever forget this — I know I wouldn’t. The police came in shouting at “Tristan” to get down on the ground and that they would tazer him, etc. etc. — A GREAT show of force — and the police even knew his name — he was then arrested AND RELEASED!! What kind of message does this send to others like “Tristan”? I sympathize with what the police officers are going through daily, dealing with so many people with mental health issues — but there MUST be another way to deal with these out of control people than the “charge and release” policy that seems to be the norm.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Chief Paul VandeGraaf
1 year ago

Spring 2022 there was a break and enter at my property in Cobourg. I called CPS, played telephone tag for 6 hours and was then told by officer on the phone that there would be no investigation as there was no theft. However there was property damage. I asked for a record of the break and enter and was told NO. Summer 2021 I was walking downtown Cobourg, asked a special constable to enforce a particular incident ( I can’t remember what) his response was he could not lay charges he was a special constable not a sworn officer. A female friend renting a basement apartment with outdoor security cameras saw a trespasser at night in her yard, called CPS and was told since nothing occurred ( other than a trespasser) they would not investigate. My view of CPS is jaded and this has opened my eyes to truth.

Reply to  Chief Paul VandeGraaf
1 year ago

Chief VandeGraaf, I can appreciate how you and your staff’s hands are “tied” in relation to government directives. It is a detriment that certain crimes are considered “petty” and therefore fall into that categorical statistic.

Many may feel that some of these crimes are not “petty”, and are therefore not enforced as we would like, for example the situation with the 2 young girls at the beach. Many feel that certain people’s rights are superseding the rights of law abiding citizens.

Harassment seems to now be replaced with causing a disturbance, and therefore treated according to that charge.

I am grateful you have joined in this conversation…many of the townspeople do not use Facebook to communicate.

I was at the police meeting and felt it unfortunate that we did not have enough time to address everyone’s questions; many were still in the que system waiting to be heard.

I would like to have another public meeting like that one, it was very well organized. All voices need to be heard. It seems lately certain “advocacy” voices are the loudest and catered to the most.

Thank you for your service, and the rest of the officers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Newbie
Lemon Cake
Reply to  Chief Paul VandeGraaf
1 year ago

The nature of policing is changing – and in some ways it’s a good thing. I recently had a family member in a mental health crisis and we unfortunately had to call for Cobourg police help – they were terrific and clearly trained to help calm the situation and ensure everyone’s safety. This would not have been an option years ago. The crime and violence issues in town are directly related to the drug epidemic for which – it appears – no one has a plan other than harm reduction and putting addicts back into the community for everyone else to deal with. Police can’t do much – they don’t have the legal tools. Unfortunately the situation has become quite dangerous.

Reply to  Chief Paul VandeGraaf
1 year ago

Perhaps the pendulum is beginning to swing back Chief. In today’s Toronto Sun the Justice Minister pressured by all the Provincial Premiers is forming a plan for bail reform on targeted offences unfortunately at this point not all to bring it back to a civil society. Today is reminiscent of the Big Rock Candy Mountain – “On the Big Rock Candy Mountain the jails are made of tin, you can walk back out again as soon as you are in – the bulldogs all have rubber teeth …..” Without governance and oversight there are those that take full advantage – Charter of Human Rights is a plague.

Reply to  Chief Paul VandeGraaf
1 year ago

With all due respect, Chief, I find it peculiar that you would take time from your busy schedule to respond to one person’s posting on a Blog. Most all of the focus on crime in Cobourg is on the downtown (drugs and homelessness). It is much more pervasive than this. I live in the Westpark / New Amherst area of town and have been a victim of criminal activity on more than one occasion. I have had garden hoses stolen, a satellite dish destroyed, utility boxes abutting my property and a sign at the entrance to a laneway that we (neighbours) share spraypainted. There is graffiti all over town! The CPS recommends that we report these non-urgent matters on-line for whatever good that will accomplish. I assume that such issues are classified as social disorders and not necessarily crime.

Reply to  Bill
1 year ago

And our police chief responded at 5:57am. The comment must have struck a nerve.

Reply to  Chief Paul VandeGraaf
1 year ago

Shopping today, noticed an obvious addict wandering around the aisles. Know some of the staff well. They said they had kept an eye on his two friends who eventually left without buying anything, the same as this guy. They confided in me they had a lot of stuff stolen by drug addicts. When the police were called they just let them go to return to steal again. This costs the store and ultimately the shopper. With the food bank, the library with its fridge of free stuff for anyone that wants it, the churches and their free lunches and social services was handing out food vouchers for fast food there is no reason to steal food. Transition House we are told also had beds available that I believe come with meals. Yet they are not charged Chief.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave
1 year ago

Having read the Downtown Action Plan which talks of connecting people that need them to various services I had hoped to read there will be a tracking system of prior contacts and those offenders refusing/ignoring direction to these services would be when “at it again” be directed to a jail cell to contemplate their actions and nuisance on society.

Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

I believe it may also serve as a form of Rehab rather than being released back to them selves
If its a cry for help give it to them . Put them where they will pay in Time for their wrong doings
especially repeat offenders . Feed them and they get jail cell Rehab at the same time just doing with out drugs for a week or 2 or 3 may save a Life or at least make them Not want to return
to a New / Old form of Rehab It was done and worked in the old days when Public drunkenness and disorderly conduct was and still is a punishable
Time in a Cell if you are a repeat offender .

Lemon Cake
1 year ago

Popped into one of the shops on King east of Division yesterday – some serious domestic tension happening on the south side near the corner with a big aggressive shirtless guy swearing and screaming at a woman sitting on the sidewalk. That’s a big problem spot and I’ve talked to shop owners there who routinely have the lock their doors in the day. The increased police presence is appreciated but not sure what the longer term plan is – the problem spots are well known but it seems like nothing can be done to address the dealing/using.

1 year ago

It would be highly appreciated if the “Downtown Action Plan” can be extended further south at this time of the year to include the nomads living along the West Beach and the Victoria Beach areas.

1 year ago

Not a sign of police presence on Friday night when we left Victoria Hall after a concert! Lots of young people in the laneway between the parking lot & King Street, we felt quite vulnerable walking to our car!

Reply to  Danjean
1 year ago

Perhaps the Police spend too much time on the Plan, and not enough time on the Action. An officer should have been on hand after the concert.

Reply to  Danjean
1 year ago

Lots of young people? Thank goodness there were not a lot of old people in the laneway. Then where would we all be?