Opinion

EDITORIAL: Value for money

There are many reasons to love where we live — the beauty, the variety, the people, the winters. Another is a low crime rate, and that's doesn't happen on its own.

Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian Hunter did his yearly presentation on crime statistics to the councils of both Qualicum Beach and Parksville this week, and the numbers he presented were quite shocking.

Now, when we in the media present the words "crime" and "shocking" in the same sentence, it's rarely something positive. We are pleased to report that's not the case in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

If you have been a victim of crime, we understand this is not going to cheer you up. But the numbers don't lie, and the reduction in incidents of crime in this region don't happen by fluke.

Consider the fact the crime rate (number of offences for every 1,000 residents) dropped to 36 in 2011 from 85.7 in 2007. And the 2012 numbers show a continuing reduction in crime (official crime rates are tabulated by the federal government and the actual 2012 number is not yet available).

In four short years, crime has been cut in half, more than that actually.

Sure, our population is the oldest in the country, or close to it, and not many 65 year-olds are robbing convenience stores. But the demographics weren't much different four or five years ago, so we are still comparing apples to apples.

We owe much gratitude to Hunter and his members and their civilian support team. Hunter says his philosophy on policing is much about visibility. Clearly, his philosophy is working.

Hunter's comments to the councils also show he doesn't just think like a police officer, he thinks like a resident. He talked about how graffiti "hurts" him and he was passionate in his insistence the crime of theft from vehicles is almost always preventable.

We tip our hats today to the Oceanside RCMP — its leader, its members and its civilian support team. If you want to simply look at bang for your tax-dollar buck, this force delivers. We encourage the councils of our region to look favourably on any funding requests from Hunter. Of all the things our tax dollar supports in Parksville Qualicum Beach, it would be difficult to find one with better returns.

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