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West Shore crime dropped overall in 2022, but saw ‘significant’ rise in violent crime: report

West Shore RCMP says the start of 2023 has seen an uptick, plus cases becoming more complex
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West Shore RMCP’s new police cruiser is a Tesla Model Y. The detachment was chosen to test how the EV performs as part of its fleet. (Black Press Media file)

Crime was down 5.3 per cent on the West Shore in 2022, according to the local RCMP’s annual report.

Across the areas the West Shore RCMP covers, case files declined from 24,043 in 2021 to 22,776 in 2022.

Langford saw a 2.4 per cent decline in case files during 2022, dropping from 13,348 in 2021 to 13,023 in 2022. But the city’s share of case files rose 1.66 per cent to 57.18 per cent proportionally to the other jurisdictions the West Shore RCMP covers.

Colwood was the only municipality (not including the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations) to see an increase in case files in 2022. Crime was up 2.1 per cent in 2022 compared with 2021, from 4,591 case files to 4,687 in 2022. The city also had the second highest percentage of files in 2022, a 1.49 per cent increase over 2021, to 20.58 per cent of case files in 2022.

View Royal, Highlands, Metchosin and the Malahat areas covered by West Shore RCMP all saw double-digit percentage decreases, with the 658 fewer cases in View Royal comprising more than half of the drop in case files across the West Shore.

In a report submitted to the District of Metchosin, West Shore RCMP says there are three main reasons for seeing a drop in case files, including COVID-19-related files no longer occurring, which dropped from 270 COVID files in 2021 to 54 in 2022. There were also big declines in the number of lost property case files (822 files in 2021 versus 655 files in 2022) and thefts from motor vehicles (413 in 2021 versus 290 files in 2022).

“Though there has been an overall decrease in files reported to police in 2022, there has been an increase in service calls that are more complex in nature and require more investigational hours to complete. There has been a significant increase in traffic-related offences, violent crime (crimes against persons), calls involving youth disturbances and sexual offences including possession of child pornography,” the report states.

READ MORE: Child pornography investigations double on the West Shore

READ MORE: West Shore RCMP deals with spate of youth incidents – including a brawl

Traffic incidents were the most prevalent calls, representing 10.3 per cent of calls in 2022 and a 1.6 per cent increase compared to 2021. Police issued 1,863 written warnings and 1,464 violation tickets in 2022.

Police have recently highlighted the rise in child porn cases, which doubled in 2022 compared with 2021, jumping from 19 in 2021 to 39 child porn investigations by West Shore RCMP in 2022.

While 2022 brought some good news, early numbers from 2023 suggest the downward trend isn’t continuing. From Jan. 1 to March 15 in 2023 there has been a 14 per cent increase in case files compared to the same period in 2022, with the number of case files jumping up from 4,410 to 5,033 in 2023, or 623 additional files.

LAST YEAR: West Shore RCMP reports 18% increase in vehicle collision, crime against person files in 2021


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