Theft from vehicles is up in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region for 2018, according to Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Marc Pelletier.
Pelletier presented an incident statistics report to Parksville council at a regular meeting on June 18. He said vehicle theft is a main concern this year for the RCMP in the region.
“If we look at theft from vehicles in 2016 it was 43, there were 37 in 2017 and we’re up to 60 in 2018,” Pelletier said. “The days of leaving your keys in your vehicle and your wallet and purse, those days are done here.”
He said mischief to business has also gone up. “There were 25 in 2016, 40 in 2017 and 89 so far in 2018,” he pointed out.
He added mischief includes broken windows and spray painting. Break and enters to businesses jumped to 74 in 2018 from 42 in 2017.
Pelletier attributed the rise in crime to “travelling criminals” who come to the area from other communities on the Island such as Victoria, Campbell River and Comox.
“Every time we put away one criminal, 10 more come in to replace them. It’s a constant, constant battle we’re dealing with,” he said.
In 2016, the criminal count was at 343, which jumped to 412 last year and is sitting at 197 today for half the year.
“We’re going to hit that 400 mark again but what’s really concerning here is the Crown counsel reports,” Pelletier said. “A Crown counsel report is what we’re actually charging somebody, so if we look at 2016 there was 343, in 2017 we jumped to 450 crown reports and right now to date we’re at 201, so that is time consuming for our members.”
The Oceanside RCMP received 5,400 calls for service in 2016, 5,167 in 2017 and so far this year there has been 6,421.
Coun. Mary Beil asked Pelletier if the increase in calls was a positive.
“Yes,” Pelletier said. “We’re telling people to call us right away. No call is too small.”
Pelletier went on to explain a curfew check program that he says is “working really good.”
“We’re getting a lot of guys off the street with that,” he said. “In 2016 before I arrived, we only did 389 (curfew checks) for the whole year, last year we were able to do 2,218 checks and right now we’re at 1,064 for half the year.”
Adding to safety on the streets, the Oceanside RCMP now have the addition of bike patrols.
“Bike members are out; they’re a great tool,” Pelletier said. “They are able to get to places where a car may not.”
Pelletier said The Oceanside RCMP should have the addition of a new traffic member by September.