Skip to content

Powell River RCMP staff sergeant outlines quarterly statistics

Detachment commander also provides annual numbers for city council
PROVIDES REPORT: Powell River RCMP staff sergeant Rod Wiebe recently attended a City of Powell River committee of the whole meeting to provide a snapshot of crime within the region.

City of Powell River councillors were provided updates of quarterly and annual crime statistics at a recent committee of the whole meeting.

On February 13, Powell River RCMP staff sergeant Rod Wiebe started his presentation by introducing victims services program coordinator Christine Schreiber and Serrano, a Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) accredited justice facility dog, who will be part of the program to assist victims of crime at the RCMP detachment, at the courthouse and in the community.

“This was a several year process and the amount of work Christine put into getting a PADS dog here in Powell River is amazing,” said Wiebe.

Schreiber said Serrano is a two-and-a-half-year-old black Labrador retriever, bred and trained by PADS to be an accredited justice facility dog.

“He does victim services with me and he will attend police statements, he’ll go on the stand with vulnerable witnesses, and offer emotional support to victims of crime and trauma,” said Schreiber.

Wiebe then outlined the RCMP quarterly report, from October to December 2023. He said officers responded to 1,584 calls, which represents a 13.6 per cent increase over the same quarter in 2022.

Wiebe said for the crime numbers, property crimes were up 42 per cent.

“The issue with quarterly numbers is that they can be skewed by crime sprees,” said Wiebe. “They can be up significantly in that quarter but sometimes they then trail off for the year. A good example is bike thefts are up 140 per cent in the fourth quarter, but year-over-year it was down 39 per cent.”

Residential break and enters were up 150 per cent in the fourth quarter with a total of 10 reported; business break and enters were up 50 per cent, but other break and enters, such as sheds and garages, were down 85 per cent. 

Theft under $5,000 was down 7.6 per cent, shoplifting was up 50 per cent and theft from vehicles was up 63 per cent.

Overall, persons crimes were up 22.5 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Common assault was up 48 per cent, extortion was up 33 per cent, which could involve activities such as sharing photos online that comes back to harm the poster. Sex offences are up 57 per cent, harassment is down 12.5 per cent and uttering threats is up four per cent, according to Wiebe.

Wiebe said overall, drug offences are down 33 per cent, by and large due to drug decriminalization. Drug trafficking was up 200 per cent and weapons offences are down 56 per cent.

Wiebe then outlined annual crime statistics. He said in the last year the detachment composition has changed, with a 21st city-funded position having been added. He said the 22nd position that was also approved is still with the province to get signed off, and it needs to go to the federal authorities for signoff.

Provincially funded representation remains at eight, but two new positions for Powell River have been approved, according to Wiebe.

“Once all those bodies are at the detachment, it will be an exceptional relief to the workload of existing members,” he said.

Overall calls for services in 2023 were up about five per cent at 6,443 calls. The five-year average is starting to creep up, said Wiebe. The city represents 76 per cent of the call volume. Areas outside the city contributed 1,555 of those calls.

Wiebe said 2019 was the highest crime year the local detachment has experienced and for the most part, those levels have not been reached again.

Break and enters in 2023 are up 31 per cent over 2022, but theft under $5,000 is down 17 per cent. Assaults are up 21 per cent. Impaired driving is down 33 per cent. Drug offences are down 60 per cent.

“The impaired driving and drug offences is expected,” said Wiebe. “That’s based on proactive work, so the less members we have the less proactive work we can do.”

Wiebe said Mental Health Act files had gone down five per cent from the previous year.

He then reviewed the crime severity index. He said in 2022, which was the most recent statistic, Powell River returned to 100 out of 326 municipalities in the index, which are back to 2018 numbers.

“We’re going in the right direction,” said Wiebe.

Join the Peak's email list for the top headlines right in your inbox Monday to Friday.