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Top Parksville cop lauds security cameras

In the wake of the identification of suspects in a downtown Parksville vandalism incident, Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian Hunter is urging all local businesses to consider installing video cameras.

Hunter's comments were part of his semi-annual public report on crime statistics to Parksville city council on Monday night.

"I am a firm believer in surveillance video," said Hunter, who added that many of the people committing crimes in this area are repeat offenders, making surveillance video a good tool for police. "It's easy to identify them."

Hunter provided a chart with various categories of crimes listed and the number of instances of each crime from 2011, 2012 and 2013 in Parksville. There weren't many huge variances, with a few exceptions:

• there were 85 assaults in 2013, up from 56 in 2012;

• theft from motor vehicles rocketed to 131 in 2013 from 80 in 2012;

• impaired driving charges were down to four in 2013 from 17 in 2012.

Hunter said his detachment's education and awareness campaign related to family violence may account for the increased number of reported incidents in that category.

"We've made family violence a strategic priority," said Hunter. "I think there is a comfort factor in coming forward to the police."

Hunter said theft from vehicles continues to be "my pet peeve of a crime" because "it's so preventable." He told council 90 per cent of these thefts involve vehicles that did not have their doors locked.

A couple of councillors had questions for Hunter about new liquor regulations coming to the province, including the elimination of fences around beer gardens. Coun. Al Greir wondered if that meant people would be able to wander around all of Community Park and the beach with a beer or other alcoholic beverage.

Hunter said he wasn't certain about all the details of the new regulations, but he said he would keep council appraised of any changes in drinking laws and enforcement for Community Park.

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