The RCMP in the Cowichan Valley is reporting a 2.3 per cent increase in calls for service over the summer months.
In a report to the City of Duncan prepared by Inspector Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, Bear said the detachment received 6,237 calls for service during the last quarter, from July through September, while 6,141 calls were received in the same quarter last year.
Overall, the detachment received 17,740 calls for service so far in 2019, compared to 17,138 calls by this time last year.
Bear said that during the quarter, several crime statistics were up, but some of the increases could be attributed to changes in the way statistical records are being kept at the detachment.
The detachment has a total of 60 RCMP officers when working at full strength.
“Assaults, weapons offences, property crimes, drugs and impaired operation (of a vehicle) remain high,” Bear said.
“A number of motor vehicle thefts were also reported and increases were noted. While we saw a slight decrease in shoplifting offences reported in the detachment area, it remains high in the City of Duncan.”
During the quarter, the detachment received 380 calls for mischief to property, 250 for causing a disturbance, 165 for drug possession, 180 for theft under $5,000, 171 for assaults, 119 for shoplifting, 102 for the impaired driving, 54 for weapons offences and 22 for sex offences.
Bear said that during the quarter, approximately 22 per cent of the calls they responded to were from within the City of Duncan, 49 per cent came from within the Municipality of North Cowichan, 10 per cent came from other areas of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and 13 per cent came from First Nations lands.
He said a small number, six per cent, originated from people coming to the detachment directly.
Bear said the issue of substance abuse is consistently raised in the community.
“This has been made a priority by all members of the detachment given its severity to affect all types of criminal activity,” he said.
“The Detachment Performance Plan includes our ‘Hot Spot’ patrols by the membership. These are identified by detachment personnel as being areas that are at high risk for criminal activity. Officers are urged to patrol, interact, investigate and address issues in order to stop the illegal behaviour from occurring.”
Bear said that during the quarter, the local RCMP conducted 195 curfew checks to ensure people with specific court orders are complying with their conditions.
“We have been seeing some successes in apprehending several priority offenders recently whom had outstanding warrants for their arrest,” he said.
Bear said the detachment has been in discussions with several box stores regarding loss prevention as a result of the large number of shoplifting incidents that are reported to the police.
“We are looking at changes that can be made in order to address these issues and make better use of resources,” he said.