Crimes stats mostly flat in Parksville

Police chief provides his year-over-year report; and more from Parksville city council's meeting on Monday night

Efforts by local police to educate the public about the perils of leaving valuables in vehicles seems to have paid off in Parksville, according to year-end crime statistics presented to city council by the chief of police Monday night.

In 2013, there were 131 incidents of theft from vehicles in the city. That dipped to 70 in 2014.

“It looks like the community has done a good job in this regard,” said Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian Hunter. “And we really want that number to keep going down.”

Hunter broke his report down to 15 categories of crimes. Most year-over-year numbers were relatively flat with the exception of theft from vehicles and theft (both over and under $5,000), which increased to 217 incidents reported to police in 2014 from 188 in 2013.

Mischief to businesses (eg. graffiti) dipped to 107 incidents in 2014 from 130 in 2013, while mischief to residences rose to 56 from 45. The number of reported assaults was 68 in 2014, down from 85 in 2013.

“Violent crime is not prevalent in this community,” said Hunter.

The Oceanside RCMP detachment has three contracts for policing, one with each of Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the Regional District of Nanaimo. Parksville gets 16 RCMP members in its contract, Qualicum beach eight and the rural areas 13.

Hunter said Parksville’s crime rate is 84 crimes per 1,000 people, which puts it 18th out of 32 communities in the province with a population between 5,000-15,000. Qualicum Beach has 38 crimes per 1,000 people.

Coun. Al Greir asked Hunter about how prevalent distracted driving offences are in the city, saying he continually sees drivers texting or talking on their cell phones.

“I think it’s one of those things that doesn’t just frustrate me, it frustrates the public,” said Hunter.

Hunter did not comment on the recent issues raised by the Phoenix Pain Management Society’s desire to set up a medical marijuana compassion club in downtown Parksville and no questions were asked by council on the subject.

(Visit www.parksville.ca for Hunter’s year-end statistics.)

In other council news from Monday night’s meeting:

• The Vancouver Island Tribute Festival asked council for a break on the rental of the conference centre — or a donation of $1,000 for its second annual event this year, scheduled for May 22-24. The inaugural event raised more than $5,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society last year, explained one of the organizers, Phred Judson. Council decided to defer the request to upcoming budget deliberations.

• Faye Smith and Peter Law of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES) provided council with a presentation about the work and study the group has done on Shelly Creek, asking the city to take a leadership role in restoring the creek’s natural hydrology. The city agreed it could look at replacing some culverts at Blower Road and councillors also agreed to take a MVIHES-led tour of the creek in April (see Editorial on this topic, page A10).

• The Island Crisis Society, represented by Violet Hayes and Sarah Poole, updated council on its work helping the homeless of the region. They explained they are taking over part of a building next to SOS and plan to offer a permanent homeless shelter and other services in that facility. They were looking for a letter of support from council in their bid for funding from B.C. Housing. Council seemed amenable to the request but asked for details on what needed to be in the letter.

• Council passed a motion to erect a memorial tree and plaque to honour former Mayor Allen Hustwick, who died last month. Coun. Sue Powell also asked staff to put Hustwick’s name on the list for future street names in the city.

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach sells fire truck to Duncan man for $1

Vehicle will remain available for special events

Development permit issued for four-storey apartment on Dogwood Street

Proposed 63-unit building will include water conservation measures

Mark Chandler running for City of Parksville councillor

Chandler will focus on affordable housing, fiscal responsibility, economic growth and crime

New data gives insight into Parksville Qualicum Beach-area homeless community

42 without homes agree to take survey on gender, age, health, length of time in community

Parksville singer to celebrate birthday with concert

Robbie Van looking to raise money for Haven Society

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Misspelling B.C. toddler’s plane ticket leaves travel agent on the hook for $1100

Mom and toddler couldn’t get on flight from Iran to Vancouver

Tempering the B.C. cannabis legalization ‘gold rush’

Retail selling of marijuana offers potential business opportunities and pitfalls

Trump boasts of America’s might, gets laugh at UN

President Donald Trump received an unexpected laugh at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Federal use of A.I. in visa applications could breach human rights, report says

Impacts of automated decision-making involving immigration applications and how errors and assumptions could lead to “life-and-death ramifications”

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Most Read