Inspector Chris Bear heads the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Calls to police up 9.9 per cent in North Cowichan/Duncan

RCMP responsed to 5,349 calls during the past three months

Police in the Cowichan Valley are reporting a 9.9 per cent increase in calls for service in the first three months of 2019.

In his quarterly report to North Cowichan’s council, Inspector Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said the detachment received 5,349 calls for service from Jan. 1 through to the end of March, compared to 4,865 calls in the same time period last year.

He said calls related to mischief and causing disturbances remain high as there continues to be ongoing reports to police concerning substance abuse.

“Consistently, we have seen that the topic of substance abuse arises,” Bear said.

“This has been made a priority by all members of the detachment given its severity to affect all types of criminal activity. The detachment performance plan includes our ‘hot spot’ patrols by the membership. These are areas identified by detachment personnel as being areas that are high risk for criminal activity.”

Bear said that during the last three months, the detachment conducted 1,512 hot-spot patrols throughout the Cowichan Valley.

Bear said some files over the last three months are notable.

They include an incident in which a serious assault took place at a motel near Alexander Street in Duncan on Feb. 15.

Two suspects were take into custody and charges of aggravated assault and forcible confinement were laid after a search warrant was executed and numerous items, including a baseball bat used in the offence, were found.

In another incident, a well-known offender wanted on outstanding warrants was observed near Shoppers Drug Mart and, after a foot pursuit and struggle with officers, was arrested and taken into custody.

The man remains in custody awaiting trial for this and a number of outstanding weapons and property related offences.

Bear said crime statistics in the Valley over the past three months include 315 mischief to property charges, 134 assaults, 90 drug possession charges, 64 impaired while operating a vehicle, 50 break and enters at businesses, 41 charges of drug trafficking and 27 for sex offences.

Bear said the detachment currently employs 60 RCMP officers, of which 32 are paid for by the Municipality of North Cowichan, 24 by the province and four from First Nation’s Community Policing.

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