Some West Shore residents may be sleeping a little easier lately.
The West Shore RCMP’s first quarter mayor’s report has been released, and while cases involving the Mental Health Act are up, incidents of breaking and entering have dropped.
“Our property crimes are down,” said Insp. Larry Chomyn, West Shore RCMP Officer in Charge. “That’s has been a bit of our focus.”
He credited that reduction to targeted enforcement and the work of the detachment’s crime reduction unit.
Some of the focus has also involved following up with individuals that have conditions imposed on them by the courts, such as a curfew. “Then they know the police are checking on them,” he said.
While those individuals might be more inclined to commit crimes during a particular time – usually nighttime – Chomyn noted having officers doing regular checks acts as a great deterrent.
Commercial B&Es fell to 21 from 33 during the first quarter of 2016, while the 54 residential break-ins were down from 83.
While there were three more thefts from motor vehicles, vehicle thefts fell dramatically from 58 to 25. But as Chomyn noted, prolific offenders can often skew those numbers, as one or two individuals can account for a string of thefts.
Two areas that have seen increases are fraud, with 102 counts (up from 70), and Mental Health Act-related files with 176 (up from 140).
Chomyn credits some of the increase in fraud cases to technology. Tap features on credit cards, for example, make it easier for an individual to pay with a stolen card. “It’s a trend across the board,” he said.
As for an increase in police-involved mental health incidents, he said “that’s not isolated to the West Shore … Overall, I think it’s a sign of the times and social pressures on our communities.”
Often, he said, departments see an increase when individuals aren’t getting their usual supports and services, whether that’s at home or from an outside agency. “Our goal is to get them the proper supports and help,” he said, noting they work within the entire south Island region to connect people with those services. Chomyn also noted that “generally, we see a lot of people gravitate to our area,” due to factors such climate.
Langford accounted for the majority of files, with roughly 55 per cent, followed by Colwood with almost 19 per cent, View Royal with 15 per cent, Metchosin with four per cent and Highlands with just under two per cent, a trend that matches their rank in population. First Nations within the West Shore RCMP’s jurisdiction accounted for roughly four per cent of all calls.