An officer with the Lambton OPP detachment in Petrolia says an increase in youth crime in the town last year was a statistical anomaly.
In a presentation to town council on Monday, Sgt. Paul Futers said of the 35 youth (defined as those between 12-17 years old) charges that were laid last year, all but three of them were from communities other than Petrolia.
He said youth come from many surrounding communities to attend the high school, play sports and frequent other special events in the town.
"We don't have a youth problem (with Petrolia kids)," he concluded.
Increased grassroots policing, including more interaction with students at LCCVI has turned around a problem that did exist between 2006-2008, he added.
Sgt. Futers said thefts from motor vehicle, mischief and liquor charges have all dropped each year in town over the past three or four years, while noise complaints have remained virtually unchanged.
He said youth crime charges are lower in Petrolia than they are in Lambton Shores and St. Clair Township and the clearance rate in Petrolia is the best in Lambton County, about five points higher than the county wide average.
However, Sg. Futers suggested the community remain vigilant in reporting potential problems to police.
"When there's an issue, people should call us," he said. "If we aren't told, we can't fix it."