Police Chief reports spike in violent crime, fewer murders across Durham in year end update to Whitby headquarters


Published December 22, 2021 at 1:51 pm

Durham Region has seen a large jump in violent crime in 2021, according to Police Chief Todd Rollauer, who said the increase “quite frankly concerns” him, as he shared his monthly update to the Durham Police Services Board on December 21.

Seven people have been murdered in Durham this year. This is a drop from previous years, 2019 saw eight people killed and 2020 saw nine. More than half the murders this year occured in just the last few months.

Most recently Maurice Fullerton, 33, was killed in his Ajax home in the early morning hours of Remembrance Day, leading to an extended standoff in Oshawa after police tracked a group of suspects to a house there. Four have been arrested in that investigation.

Little over week prior, Ruth Humphries, 67, was found dead in her Oshawa home by her grandson when he returned home from school on November 2. Police arrested a woman days after Humphries’ death on second-degree murder charges.

Ava Burton, 58, and her mother Tatilda Noble, 85, disappeared from their home on October 14. Joshua Burton, the son and grandson of the women, was arrested a week later. The women bodies were found near Cannington days later.

Rollauer reports four of the seven slayings in 2021 have been solved, while the homicide unit continues to investigate three.

Where the spike really begins is in other forms of violent crime.

Crime indicators show a 45 per cent increase in aggravated assaults compared to 2020, a trend continuing upward which Rollauer called, “troubling.” Police have been able to solve 74 per cent of these crimes, and over 70 per cent across all levels of assault, according Rollauer.

The Region has seen numerous assaults over the last year, with stabbings in particular on the rise. Six people in were stabbed in October alone. Numerous non-fatal shootings also occurred.

Rollauer said despite police efforts to educate drivers and a five-year record of 47,259 traffic stops, fatal traffic collisions increased this year. Rollauer says he’s unsure if this is because of more people returning to the road, but the traffic unit is working tobring that number down.

Impaired driving is also on the rise over the Holiday season, with DRPS reporting 58 drives facing charges over the first five weeks of the Festive RIDE program. At that point last year, 43 had been charged.



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