Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian Hunter presented the latest crime statistics to council on Monday and while not all the latest numbers are good, he was positive they are still moving in the right direction.
Hunter broke down the number of incidents reported in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period in the two previous years.
He said that assaults went up from 27 to 30, break and enters to businesses were up from six to 12 and break and enters from residences is up from five to 10.
But in all three cases the numbers where dramatically higher in previous years.
There were 72 break and enters to businesses in the first half of 2009 for example.
Theft from motor vehicles continues to drop from 45 in 2009 to 38 last year and 20 this year.
Other categories with continuing drops include theft over and under $5,000, down to 69, mischief to businesses and other, down to 70 and causing disturbance, down from 85 two years ago to 35.
Drug charges are up nearly double from last year to 32, which Hunter said is a reflection of targeted enforcement.
“It doesn’t mean use and abuse has gone up,” he said.
The biggest policing issue in his three years here, Hunter said, according to community feedback, is traffic and road safety, which he said police have continued to focus on.
Provincial traffic offences, such as tickets for speeding or use of cell phones dropped by 10 to 1,105.
Hunter pointed out that last year’s number was nearly double the previous year’s due to increased enforcement.
Noting police are adapting their tactics to meet new challenges, Hunter said they have a dramatic new focus on bike patrols, having sent 10 officers for special training on how to police from a bicycle.
He noted he is making sure there are patrols out on busy weekend and evening periods.
The new approach, he added, appears to be working.
He said this was part of their success with Canada Day this year where they were out in the park early setting the right tone, giving out $230 tickets for drinking in public. He said word of those tickets got around quickly and helped keep it a quiet, family friendly atmosphere.
Acting mayor Chris Burger praised the work of Hunter and his staff, which was echoed by the rest of council.