RCMP say ‘travelling criminals’ to blame for spike in Qualicum Beach-area break-ins

Break-and-enters to businesses in the Qualicum Beach region have seen a jump since 2016.

According to Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Marc Pelletier, the crimes gone from one in 2016, to eight in 2017 and to 22 in 2018.

“That’s alarming for us,” Pelletier told Qualicum Beach town council on Feb. 25.

Pelletier said officers are urging business owners to install proper alarm systems and security cameras.

Break-ins to residences have also seen a spike since 2016, jumping from five, to 10 in 2017 and 14 in 2018.

Mischief to business went from 27 incidents in 2016 to 45 in 2018.

“If you look at theft from motor vehicles, we just had 18 in 2016, that went up to 25 in 2017 and tripled to 60 in 2018,” Pelletier said. “The days of leaving your cars unlocked, your homes unlocked are done.”

Pelletier said a lot of the area’s crime is connected to “travelling criminals” who he said come through town from other areas on the Island or lower mainland.

“They do their crime and they’re out of here,” Pelletier said. “A prime example is we had a stolen car from Qualicum, it was involved in a shooting in Kelowna. These guys were in this town doing crime, stealing our vehicles and now they’re in the lower mainland or the Kootenays, so that’s alarming for us. We don’t know these people, they come in, they hit and they leave.”

Oceanside RCMP received 3,000 more calls for service in 2018 than in 2017.

“We want people to call. There’s nothing worse than getting a call a day later,” Pelletier said. “If you see something going on, call right away.”

Pelletier said drug offences are down because of marijuana legalization.

karly.blats@pqbnews.com

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