Reducing property crime is a major focus of Mission RCMP in 2016, Insp. Ted De Jager reported to council last week (Aug. 15).
In general, the focus seems to be working. Property crime in the first half of the year is down one per cent from 2015, and down 10 per cent from the first quarter to the second. However, theft from vehicles is up 23 per cent in the first half of the year, when compared to 2015.
De Jager said this is not unusual, as people are out more often as the weather improves and thieves target vehicles where valuables are left in sight.
A check of more than 26,000 vehicles showed that many had valuables in sight. Police try to urge people to keep their valuables out of sight and not offer thieves opportunities, but “we haven’t had a lot of success in getting that message across.”
One well-known suspect was observed by police attempting to break in to more than 50 vehicles. She was arrested after gaining entry to a vehicle and has now been sentenced to one year in jail.
Residential break-ins are down five per cent in the first half of the year but business break-and-enters are up. Auto theft is also up.
An eight-month operation was conducted against a property crime suspect, who was “at the centre of all things property crime-related in Mission.” He is facing several charges of possession of stolen property and drug offences.
De Jager said the man has been evicted from the area due to enforcement, and his operations “have been significantly disrupted.”
De Jager’s report said the creation of a Prolific Offender Suppression Team (POST) has had a positive effect. He told council that the POST team tracks prolific offenders closely. Many have conditions attached to their parole or sentences, and POST is able to note breaches and have them returned to jail.
Operation Valley Sweep was also noted. This was a joint project of Abbotsford Police and the Upper Fraser Valley RCMP regional detachment.
The seven-member team worked throughout the Upper Fraser Valley to target the most prolific multi-jurisdictional offenders. In three months, there were over 500 street checks, 123 self-generated files and 92 arrests. A total of 54 people were charged with 91 separate offences. Thirty-three were referred for addiction treatment.
Mayor Randy Hawes said the co-operative work among the various law enforcement agencies had great results, and he hopes police will continue to do such work to target criminals who do not respect jurisdictional boundaries.