Mission RCMP blocked off Welton Street after a suspicious package was reported in the area in August of 2020. Year-end stats released on Monday show that both property and violent crimes incidents are down in Mission compared to 2019. / File Photo

Mission RCMP blocked off Welton Street after a suspicious package was reported in the area in August of 2020. Year-end stats released on Monday show that both property and violent crimes incidents are down in Mission compared to 2019. / File Photo

Number of violent crimes, property crimes drop in 2020

Mission RCMP Insp. Stephen Corp presented the year-end statistical information to Mission council

Violent crimes and property crimes were both down significantly in 2020 as compared to last year.

Mission RCMP Insp. Stephen Corp presented the year-end statistical information to Mission council on Monday evening, noting many of the crime reduction goals, set last year, have been reached or exceeded.

According to the crime stat report, there was a total of 722 violent crimes in 2020 compared to 799 the previous year. That’s a 10 per cent decrease.

Looking solely at spousal violent crimes, there were 112 incidents in 2020, the exact same amount as 2019.

As for property crime, the numbers show a sharp decline.

Business break and enters were down 33 per cent (41 incidents in 2020 and 61 in 2019), while residential break and enters dropped by 21 per cent (58 in 2020 and 73 in 2019). Other break and enters – sheds and other out buildings – were down 35 per cent.

Other property crimes that dipped include incidents of shoplifting (down 27 per cent), auto theft (down 22 per cent) and theft from auto (down 45 per cent).

Corp told council these figures resulted in “an overall decrease in property crime by 22 per cent which is really significant. We were down almost 500 calls related to our property crime, so we’ll take that one as a success.”

He said the crime reduction unit continues to target both property crime and drug offences in Mission.

“Despite the challenges imposed by the provincial health orders and the virus, they worked hard throughout the pandemic and seized a significant amount of drugs, stolen property and cash.”

He added it is a small, six or seven member unit, but it is producing significant results.

While Corp is pleased by the figures, he did say that “auto theft does continue to be an issue in Mission and something we are actively working on.”

He also told council that 65 per cent of a Mission police officers time is spent dealing with non-chargeable offences.

Corp explained their mandates have changed as more social things have been brought to the police to help resolve and that has impacted how they spend their time.

Another success this past year was the dismantling of a large homeless camp behind the Freshco grocery store.

“Multiple agencies worked together to ensure housing and supports were made available during the closing of the camps.”

Traffic issues was another priority that the Mission RCMP focused on in 2020 and again, most of the stats show a downward trend.

There were 64 seatbelt infractions in 2020 compared to 163 in 2019. Excess speeding was down to 940 incidents compared to 1,477 in 2019. Impaired charges, 24-hour suspensions and immediate roadside prohibitions were also down.

There were two fatal accidents, compared to four in 2019 and 79 injuries in accidents, compared to 87 the previous year.

The only traffic stats that rose were use of electronic devices (109 in 2020 and 96 in 2019) and other – intersection offences, failure to stop, not signaling ,failure to yield etc. – which rose to 1,497 compared to 1,314.

“As you can see, Covid-19 and the public health orders did have an impact on traffic stats in Mission … public traffic habits, patterns and volumes were altered. Businesses closed or discontinued store access. Employment has been lost or transitioned to home-based. School hours and attendance has changed. These factors have significantly reduced the amount of traffic that was actually on the road during traditional peak hours in Mission.”

He said of note was the change to pub, and restaurant hours which shifted traffic habits to occur and end much earlier in the evening.