Vic-Esquimalt break-in, theft numbers rise

Copper materials, high-end bicycles among the popular items to steal

Break-ins and property theft of materials such as copper appear to be on the rise in Victoria.

“Break-and-enters continue to plague us, although historically we’ve found break-and-enters have been trending up since probably October, maybe September,” Victoria police Insp. Clark Russell told Victoria police board members on Tuesday.

Releasing details of the department’s annual report, Russell said Victoria and Esquimalt had 37 residential break-ins in January, up from 27 in the same month last year. As well, there were 23 break-ins to such buildings as garages, compared to 11 last year.

Thefts of materials such as copper and high-end bicycles were notable, Russell said.

“When they take things like underground mortars (containing copper wire), they’re taking thousands of dollars worth of property and costing (B.C.) Hydro hundreds of thousands in infrastructure costs.”

Police have taken a “task-force approach” to stopping such thefts, Russell said, and have seen some success. Numerous arrests have been made and patrol officers continue to watch the areas of James Bay, Fairfield, Vic West and the downtown core.

While crimes against persons, which include assault and robbery, rose six per cent over in January over the previous year, the actual numbers are small, Russell said.

There were three more cases of robbery and extortion reported this year over last, and 17 more incidents of assault.

Overall, January saw a 10-per-cent decrease in total service from 2011, Russell said, from just over 3,000 calls to around 2,700 this year.

reporter@vicnews.com