Thefts, frauds up, but overall crime down

During the first quarter of 2010, there were 140 thefts under $5,000 in Campbell River. During the same period this year, there have been 191.

The city has experienced a spike of thefts and frauds this year, according to the RCMP’s quarterly report.

During the first quarter of 2010, there were 140 thefts under $5,000 in Campbell River. During the same period this year, there have been 191.

There has also been 14 thefts over $5,000 in 2011 compared to six for the same period last year. Part of the spike relates to the multiple thefts of valuable copper wire, mainly from construction and work sites.

Frauds are also up, 31 this year compared to 24 in 2010, but the total number of criminal offences is down from 1,139 to 992.

Other positive news, according to RCMP Insp. Lyle Gelinas, is the growing success of the local Crime Stoppers and Restorative Justice programs.

“Crime Stoppers has shown a substantial increase in all areas,” Gelinas wrote in his report to city council. “This has been created by a large expansion in the media coverage…”

Comparing numbers for the first quarters in 2010 and 2011: tips to Crime Stoppers are up from 49 to 59; more cases have been cleared, from 26 to 48;   more awards have been paid to tipsters, from one to four; and the value of rewards is also up from $100 to $600.

The numbers are also increasing for Restorative Justice. This program re-routes offenders from the court system to restorative justice forums that makes them face their victims, the people affected by their crimes (including police) and allows for various forms of restitution.

The goal of the program is to make offenders fully aware of the harm they have caused in the hope they commit no further offences.

During the first quarter of 2011, there have already been 10 restorative justice forums for theft under $5,000, one for mischief under $5,000, two for mischief over $5,000, one for making a fraudulent ICBC claim, one for fraud and one for uttering threats.

“The majority of offenders were youth, but approximately 30 per cent of referrals were adults,” noted Gelinas.

In other areas of policing:

A crime analyst was hired in May.

– Police will continue to conduct “bar walks” and report concerns to the Liquor Inspector.

– Prolific prohibited drivers will continue to be targeted by police. These are typically motorists with impaired driving convictions who continue to drive, and two were arrested during the first quarter of 2011.

As for more serious crimes, Gelinas said the Major Crime Unit is still involved in the investigation of Darcy Kozak, who is charged with three first degree murders as well as other investigations.

“There were four suspicious deaths, including a number of armed robberies and home invasions,” he wrote. “In addition, there have been sexual assaults and a number of serious assaults investigated by this unit.”

In an effort to combat crime at the source, the Community Response Unit and the Street Crime Unit focus on prolific offenders and crime “hot spots” in the city.