Crime rate drops in the River City

The volume and severity of crime in Campbell River has continued to show improvement during 2012

The volume and severity of crime in Campbell River has continued to show improvement during 2012, RCMP Inspector Lyle Gelinas has reported to Campbell River City Council this week.

“Not only has there been less crime reported this year compared to 2011, but it has also been less serious in nature,” Gelinas said in his third quarterly report.

All major categories of offences against citizens including murder, robbery, assault and sexual offences – have dropped this year.

This improvement is also reflected in property crime which continues to show the greatest improvement in high-impact crimes such are residential break and enter, business break and enter and auto theft.

“Based on year-to-date numbers, Campbell River is on track to achieve a major improvement in its crime severity index results for 2012,” Gelinas concluded.

The most notable improvement includes: No murders to date in 2012 compared to three in 2011; assaults down to 294 from 354; business B&Es down to 29 from 39; auto thefts down to 43 from 76.

Bucking the trend were liquor offences up to 620 this year compared to 441 in 2011.

The RCMP detachment commander says his Community Response Unit (CRU) continues to have success with prolific and priority offender initiatives.

“Some offenders will go to great lengths to avoid their curfews or probation conditions. One prolific offender known for commercial B&Es attempted to circumvent his court ordered curfew by providing a commercial fishing vessel as his place of residence,” Gelinas said. “The vessel was docked in a different police jurisdiction each week which made conventional curfew checks difficult. CRU worked with the RCMP West Coast Marine section and on several occasions they checked this individual and the vessel he was on while at sea.

“This strategy resulted in a breach of probation charge which led to a six month sentence.”

CRU also targeted the suspected individuals who were selling the stolen property in local pawn shops. This led to multiple criminal charges of possession of property obtained by crime against eight offenders. Two were multi-jurisdictional offenders living up island and involved in a crime spree.

In excess of $10,000 of stolen property was recovered from local pawnshops and has been or will be returned to their rightful owners, Gelinas reported.

“The Comox and Campbell River detachments share certain traveling criminals. I

suppose these individuals are unsure which community they would like to live in. While

I am a Campbell River supporter I think Comox/Courtenay would be a nicer place for

them. Our detachments work together on certain initiatives involving different sections

depending on the crime and offender. A joint effort recently yielded 2 B&E and two possession of stolen property charges in Campbell River and three in Comox.”

Gelinas gave special credit to the work of Citizens on Patrol (COP).  “Their assistance with events like the BC Bike Race, July 1st, Remembrance Day and numerous activities such as Child Fine, Speed Watch, Lock it or Lose it and Block Watch to name a few is amazing. Our auxiliaries and COPs are volunteers who spent hundreds of hours each year away from their families, to give back to the community of Campbell River.”

The inspector said the Restorative Justice Program (RJ) continues to be a success story.

“The efforts put into this program by Kristine Atkinson are overwhelming and the results reflect this,” he said.

Referrals to the program have been steady and the issues dealt with included offences such as graffiti and shoplifting. Of the 15 offenders referred to the program this quarter, 10 were youth. The oldest offender was 44 and the youngest was 13.

The agreements included apology letters, repayment of cash stolen, payment for stolen merchandise, volunteer hours, painting of a damaged wall and alcohol counselling.