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Crime statistics in City of Powell River trending downward, says RCMP detachment commander

Westview Ratepayers Society receives report from RCMP
TRENDING DOWNWARD: Powell River RCMP staff sergeant Rod Wiebe reported a drop in crime in the City of Powell River during a report for Westview Ratepayers Society.

Crime statistics in City of Powell River are trending downward, according to the Powell River RCMP detachment commander.

Staff sergeant Rod Wiebe, at the September 22 Westview Ratepayers Society meeting, said some members of the society were concerned that some statistics he quoted in March of this year didn’t reflect what was actually happening in the town. He said he had been using 2020 statistics at the time.

He said he had run year-to-date 2021 statistics for the ratepayers meeting.

“I can say that all of the stats are matching what we were seeing in 2020, and that crime is going down,” said Wiebe. “Residential break and enters were down 14 per cent, theft under $5,000 is down 17 per cent, theft from motor vehicles is down 21 per cent, bicycle thefts are down 12 per cent and the list goes on. The only one that I could see that had a bit of a rise was break and enter other, and that’s like a shed or an unattached garage. We had 18 reports of those this year compared to 10 in 2020.

“All in all, professional crime is something we have to deal with but crime is actually on the down-trend in Powell River.”

Wiebe said calls for service are up this year and the RCMP detachment is trying to figure out what the calls are for because it’s not for crime. He said factors may be for matters such as mental health requests and checks for well-being, which are up significantly, and ties up a lot of officers’ time.

“That could be part of the driver,” said Wiebe.

Removing statistics from electoral areas of qathet Regional District, he said calls are down right in the city compared to 2019, which was the worst year Wiebe had seen since he’s been here (2011).

“Everything, policing wise, is looking not bad right now,” said Wiebe.

Westview Ratepayers Society president Ron Woznow then asked about speeding on Joyce Avenue, which has been a concern of the ratepayers. Woznow said constable Paula Perry had come out to observe the trouble areas and there are now flashing signs that the city has installed. Woznow asked if Wiebe could comment on the amount of time and energy it takes to enforce speed regulations and the limits on the RCMP in town.

Wiebe said the problem is city-wide. He said he went to the 30-kilometres per hour zone on Joyce Avenue before the meeting for an hour and was impressed with what the signs have done.

“Hopefully, that continues,” said Wiebe. “Ultimately, we have three frontline members working per shift. That’s our minimum. Sitting at the roadside with radar takes significant time and lots of times they get called away to another call. That’s not taking into account all of the paperwork they have to do to follow up on their investigations.

“We’re trying. I think our proactive time amounts to about 10 minutes per hour. It’s not a lot, and especially when you set up an operation and get called away. Please be patient.”

Wiebe said the Vancouver Island Traffic Services has not been coming as frequently as it used to. Members were here in August, doing traffic enforcement, for the first time in some time, he added.