Crime on the rise in 2015

Police chief says one individual — he was arrested May 19 — caused much of the spike in the theft numbers

Oceanside RCMP have released crime stats for the first six months of 2015.

Oceanside RCMP have released crime stats for the first six months of 2015.

Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian Hunter was scheduled to provide city council Wednesday night with his mid-year statistical report on crime in Parksville and the numbers show significant increases in a few categories.

Incidents of thefts from motor vehicles, for example, jumped to 100 in the first six months of 2015 from 35 in the same time period in 2014. In the first six months of 2013 there were 74 such incidents and at that time Hunter urged the public to lock vehicles and avoid leaving valuables visible.

Hunter, and the local RCMP’s media liaison Cpl. Jesse Foreman, have both called this crime “preventable.”

Hunter said Tuesday there was an explanation for the jump in that stat.

“We made an arrest on May 19 of an individual and when we interrogated him he admitted to well over 50 of them (thefts from vehicles), to feed a drug habit,” said Hunter. “And he said every time it was an unlocked vehicle.”

There was also a spike in thefts (both over and under $5,000) in the city in the first six months of the year, jumping to 86 from 61 during the same time frame in 2014.

Shoplifting also increased — 59 incidents this year from 22 in the first six months of 2014 and only 14 in 2013. Hunter said this week that a local grocery store hired security this year to specially watch for, and report, shoplifting, which accounts for much of that statistical spike.

Here are statistics related to the other categories listed by Hunter, with 2015 numbers followed by 2014 numbers in brackets:

• Assaults, 37 (36).

• Break and enter, business, 18 (18).

• Break and enter, residence, 8 (17).

• Theft of motor vehicle, 11 (10).

• Mischief, business and other, 57 (50).

• Causing a disturbance, 48 (41).

• Drugs, 31 (26).

• Impaired driving, 0 (5).

• IRP 90-day, fail, 10 (21).

• IRP 90-dail, refuse, 3 (3).

• Liquor Act offences, 25 (38).

• Motor vehicle accidents, 66 (59).

• Traffic offences (provincial), 761 (755).

• Criminal Code traffic offences, 3 (4).

Hunter said he was also going to provide council with rankings from the recently-released crime severity index that includes statistics from 165 B.C. municipalities.

The higher the ranking, the more crimes per capita. Hunter said the index showed Qualicum Beach with the third-lowest index in the province,at 163rd. The rural area in this region was at 147th and Parksville at 104th.