Violent crimes in Mission rose by 30 per cent in 2019, according to year-end stats released by the Mission RCMP.
Officer in charge Insp. Stephen Corp presented the 2019 year-end crime statistics to council Monday night.
There were 807 violent crimes reported in 2019, compared to 623 in 2018. While the overall numbers rose, spousal violence dipped slightly.
In 2018, 122 reports of spousal violence were received, compared to 111 in 2019. That is a decrease of about nine per cent.
“Drug possession showed a very modest increase of three per cent. The drug trafficking went up significantly from 22 reports in 2018 to 76 reports in 2019, or a 245 per cent increase,” Corp told councillors.
Total property crime is also up, by approximately 18 per cent. There were 2,248 incidents in 2019, compared to 1,913 in 2018.
However, Corp pointed out that the system used to collect data changed in 2019, which has skewed the year-to-year comparisons.
“All police departments across Canada were required by StatsCan, who collects criminal statistics, to begin counting unverified reports from the public as actual crimes that have occurred,” he explained.
Those unverified complaints are now counted as crime stats, where they were not included in previous years.
In 2019, Mission RCMP received a total of 15,544 calls for service, up slightly from the 15,118 calls received in 2018.
“When we do investigate matters that are reported to us, our statistics for the year show that 38 per cent of the reports to us were resulting in being categorized as chargeable and 62 per cent were not.”
After Corp finished his reports, Coun. Ken Herr asked about chronic offenders and what strategies the RCMP are using.
“We have social chronic offenders who are typically people who need social assistance,” Corp said.
“We deliver our strategies through our mental health liaison and our community liaison. And then we have prolific offenders who we target through our Comstats who we believe are responsible for committing the majority of property-type crimes within the community. So, yes, we certainly have strategies for both of those.”
Coun. Mark Davies asked the inspector about theft from vehicles, which is up 23 per cent. In 2018, there were 394, while in 2019 the number rose to 483.
Corp said it is difficult to say who is committing the crimes, which take place throughout the community.
“What we are doing now is we are trying to educate the public. We are identifying areas, through our crime analyst, where these thefts are occurring, when they are occurring, but again it’s a somewhat reactive position … The only real tool we have right now is our education and our messaging to the public to say please don’t leave valuables in sight. Lock your car. If you are leaving it unlocked, then make sure there’s nothing in it.”