Campbell River has seen an increase in severe crime this year and near record levels of disorderly conduct in the downtown core, according to RCMP Inspector Jeff Preston.
Preston told council, at last week’s Monday council meeting, that Campbell River, along with most of B.C., has seen a jump in its Crime Severity Index which assigns a numeric value to a crime, with homicide earning the greatest number.
“Our jump has been about 19 per cent,” Preston said. “A vast majority of that has been a result of an increase in major crimes against persons, those were up significantly. However, I believe what had a major impact on this number was the amount of homicide files we had this past year.”
Campbell River RCMP dealt with one homicide, 16 robberies (a 60 per cent increase over 2014), 277 assaults (a 13.1 per cent increase) and 23 sexual offences (a 35.3 per cent jump).
Also on the rise is the number of calls for disorderly conduct in the downtown area.
“There’s been an issue in the downtown core with a number of individuals causing a disturbance in a number of fashions, in particular by being drunk or disorderly,” Preston said. “We have had an increase unfortunately and we’re seeing levels we haven’t seen since 2009.”
Preston said the Campbell River RCMP detachment’s crime analyst has found that 16 people represent about two-thirds of the calls. He added that of those 16 people, 14 are from out of town but have re-located to the Campbell River area. Preston said to try and combat the problem, RCMP increased its foot patrols, but, he added that doesn’t necessarily fix the problem.
“That does tend to just move the problem from one area of town to another,” Preston said. “It’s a societal issue which is going to require a multi-organizational and a multi-faceted approach.”
He added that RCMP have had preliminary discussions with Crown counsel, the city’s First Nations partners, and the city’s new judge.
Preston noted that getting mental health and addictions services involved is also key.
“We do need to focus in on these 16 individuals and in many cases, get them the help they need,” Preston said. “In a lot of instances they’re dealing with mental health or substance abuse issues. There’s no doubt we do have an issue in the downtown core that needs some attention.”
On the flip side, what has gotten some attention is theft – particularly shop lifting which Preston said has been reported in increasing numbers this year.
“The number of increased calls for service due to shop lifting we believe is a result of our work with the loss prevention officers, ensuring they call every time there is an incident,” Preston said.
Also on a positive note, there was a decline in total Criminal Code offences reported to Campbell River RCMP this past quarter when compared to the one previous. Preston said that can be attributed to declines in crimes against people and other offences which both recorded its lowest number of incidents for at least the past 12 months.
- Sexual Offences-23
- Break and Enter-160
- Theft of Auto-45
- Theft from Vehicle-272
- Traffic Collisions-65, with two fatal
- Calls for Service-11,891