Police encourage Western Manitoulin residents to report on incidents of harassment

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OPP hears of escalating events in Burpee and Mills

MANITOULIN – The problem with a group of young people from another province having taken up residence on Western Manitoulin and harassing residents—most notably seniors in areas like Burpee and Mills Township in the very early morning hours—is escalating, says a representative of the township.

“I’m going to talk about a problem we are having in our area,” Wayne Bailey, a Burpee and Mills Township councillor and member of the Manitoulin Community Police Advisory Committee (CPAC), told other members of the committee at a meeting last week. “If you look at the OPP calls for service in our area, it appears everything is quiet. But I know there is a lot of activity going on and this is escalating.”

“There is a lot of activity at night, with a number of young people who have moved here and live as a group in one house in Burpee and Mills and they are harassing people all the way up to Meldrum Bay,” said Mr. Bailey. He said the youth appear to act like they are using drugs, “and there is a lot of harassment, especially of elderly people, in the township.”

“I tell these residents to call the police, but they are afraid of reprisal if they do. I don’t know what we can do to get people to call the police,” said Mr. Bailey. He pointed out the young people causing trouble sleep all day and then they start to roam around in their vehicles after 12 midnight, “and start going to people’s houses and in a lot of cases up their driveways around 1 am; and things really get going between 3 am and 5 am in the morning. They are high and there is a lot of screaming and partying and they end up harassing people. They are trespassing on residents properties and harassing them. And we have found even more cases lately, things being moved around and a few thefts having taken place.”
“I’m sure there will be a lot more of this taking place in the future,” said Mr. Bailey. “When the hunters get back to their camps in the area, I’ m sure there will be a lot more reports of things having been stolen.” 

Inspector Megan Moriarity, detachment commander of the Manitoulin detachment of the OPP, told the meeting, “it is difficult to get to respond to a problem if we are not hearing about them taking place.”

“People need to let us know when these things are happening and to provide us as much information as they can. People need to call us and I will bring this issue up with our officers on this issue and look at what we can do,” added Inspector Moriarity. “But people need to let us know when this type of thing is occurring.” She  pointed out later in the meeting by members of the public reporting incidents occurring it helps determine an area that the OPP will focus patrols o