Downward crime trend seen on the West Shore

Two individuals lead to bump in Metchosin crime stats

Crime is down overall in the West Shore from last year, according to the August Mayors’ report put out by the West Shore RCMP.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 30, the West Shore was down 504 calls from the same time period in 2013, and most municipalities are following the same pattern of decrease.

Langford is down 301 calls, Colwood 137 calls, and View Royal and the Highlands are down 98 and 22 calls respectively.

The only anomaly is Metchosin, whose total calls increased by 58 over last year. The year-to-date increase is partly due to a busier August, which saw 17 more calls than in 2013.

The numbers aren’t always clear without interpretation and context, however, said detachment spokesperson Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz.

“The increase in files (in August) was generated by two individuals,” she said, with the crimes being specific to property crime and not crimes against a person. “That (kind of increase) can happen across the board in any municipality. It’s not unusual that we have a bit of a rise,” she said, adding a spike in calls is often attributed to one or two individuals or an active house in an area.

In a small municipality like Metchosin that “doesn’t have a significant call volume, even small increases are readily noticed,” Rochlitz said.

The report listed includes every type of call, with more than 100 categories separating varying levels of property and personal crime.

“Overall violent crime in Canada is decreasing and we can see that in our area. But there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Rochlitz said.

According to West Shore RCMP crime analyst Oona Olson, many calls for service the detachment receives are social in nature – those involving people – such as landlord disputes, violence in relationships, plus mental health or substance abuse calls.

Almost 10 per cent of last year’s call volume was traffic related, something that’s been a top priority for the detachment, said Rochlitz.

And though “reports of crime are down across all jurisdictions, our workload continues to rise,” she added. The detachment continues to work on its crime prevention programs, such as prolific offender management, the Lock it or Lose it campaign and Block Watch.

The stats from the mayors’ report, while indicative of the current trend, could change with the natural ebb and flow of crime rates, Rochlitz said.

“That’s policing for you. Nothing is ever consistent.”

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com