Mission RCMP Insp. Ted de Jager delivered some good news to Mission council on Monday afternoon.
De Jager was on hand to present the results of the RCMP’s year-end report
“The most telling information is the drop in property crime – a 20 per cent reduction in property crime – and a nine per cent reduction in violent crime,” De Jager said.
The report was made public two weeks ago when it was printed online as part of the council agenda. However, de Jager was unable to attend that meeting to explain some of the report’s findings.
He told council there is a good reason why property crime is on the decline.
“The drop in property crime can almost be directly associated with the prolific offender suppression team,” he said, as well as police efforts to target hot spots – areas in the district where criminal behavior occurs more frequently.
“We have a list of priority offenders that members are actively searching for,” de Jager said, adding the majority of crimes are committed by a small percentage of people.
There has also been a 14 per cent drop in business break-ins in the past year (and a 64 per cent drop in the past quarter). Residential break-ins are also down 19 per cent in the past year.
De Jager told council the biggest issue remains theft from vehicles, even though there was a drop (11 per cent) this year.
He said theft from vehicles is the most prolific crime in the community – double the amount of any other crime.
Violent crimes are up 23 per cent this year and 67 per cent in the last quarter. However, de Jager said it “has a lot to do with a change in how it is reported.” Threats on the Internet and bullying are now listed as violent crimes, which has impacted the statistics this year.
Other tidbits from the report show that non-chargeable offences make up 66 per cent of all police calls, with just 34 per cent of calls leading to charges.
Total police calls for service for Mission and the surrounding provincial areas was 16,347 (14,682 just in the district) in 2016. That’s down from the 17,140 in 2015 (15,601 in Mission District).
The RCMP also lodged 745 prisoners in 2016, compared to 342 in 2015.
“There is a great jump in prisoners lodged and that’s because in 2015 our cell block was being renovated, so 700 is about the average.”
Coun. Jim Hinds noted that some of the public have already commented on social media regarding the police statistics, many claiming that crime rates are only down because citizens are not reporting crimes anymore.
Hinds called the comments “ludicrous” but asked de Jager how the RCMP combats those incorrect statements.
“I think the best way to do that is through things like this report that shows what is actually happening,” said de Jager, “and through our community policing forum. Unfortunately, that was postponed because I am moving on. But when my successor comes, that is going to be one of the first things on the agenda.”
He said it is important to remind the public that no call is too small.
“Even if we don’t attend, at least that is what generates a hot spot.”
And police target areas where frequent calls come from.
De Jager will be leaving his post at the end of April to take a similar position in Penticton.
His successor has not yet been named.