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Crime rates continue to drop
Qualicum Beach ranks third among the 30 communities in B.C. with populations between 5,000-15,000 on the list of towns with the lowest crime rates.
Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian Hunter presented 2012 crime stats to councils of both Qualicum Beach and Parksville on Monday night.
"I couldn't be more pleased," Hunter told Qualicum Beach council. "Other communities have seen a drop in crime but not to the degree it's dropped in Parksville and Qualicum Beach."
Council members offered thanks for the work by the local police.
"The effectiveness of our detachment shines through, congratulations," said Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer, a former member of the RCMP.
While Hunter presented numbers from 2012, the latest federal-government-gathered statistics are for 2011 and they show Qualicum Beach with a crime rate of 36 crimes per 1,000 population. That's down from 85.7 in 2007.
"My philosophy on policing is visibility," said Hunter. "It does bring down the crime rate. I'm very proud of the work our members are doing."
Of the 2012 numbers presented by Hunter (see accompanying graphic for Qualicum Beach only), the top cop in the Oceanside detachment pointed to a couple of categories that did rise, including mischief (45 incidents in 2012 compared to 27 in 2011). He attributed that rise mostly to offences related to graffiti, but said an arrest police made recently might do a lot to change those numbers.
"It (graffiti) is not a victimless crime," said Hunter. "It hurts me. But once that arrest was made, the crime of graffiti went down."
• Hunter also presented his report to Parksville council Monday, showing a continuing trend of declining crime.
He blamed a couple specific increases on a few individuals including an increase in break and enters to business increasing from 21 to 29 from 2011 to 2012, theft from motor vehicles increased from 51 to 80 and mischief to businesses increased from 133 to 174 reported incidents, which was mostly graffiti, he said.
He called on the public to "do your part," in reporting crime like graffiti, adding "there are people in the community who know who those people are."
Most categories of crime reported to the local detachment decreased with the biggest drops in residential break and enters from 28 to 17 and liquor act offences down from 145 to 95.
While Parksville only has the 12th lowest crime rate of 30 B.C. communities in the same population range, he points out that rate has dropped dramatically in the last five years from 151.8 to 68.2.
Hunter said he is proud of the detachment's work and singled out Cpl. Jessie Foreman, in charge of community policing, as undertaking a lot of good projects, including moving the volunteer community policing office into the city hall atrium.