A virtual crime map made by an Oceanside Community Safety volunteer shows current and previous property crimes that occurred, and where, in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region. - oceansidecsv.org

Virtual map pinpoints property crime in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers highlight where crime is occurring

Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers (OCSV) offer a dozen public safety and crime prevention programs, help the Oceanside RCMP minimize crime in the community and now offer a virtual crime map to easily locate incidents that occurred in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

The map includes pins for incidents included in the OCSV’s current crime watch report (green pins), the previous crime watch report (yellow pins) and incidents from three weeks or older (red pins). Crime watch reports detail property crime incidents and complaints reported to the Oceanside RCMP each week.

“As part of our partnership with the RCMP, we have the ability to get information from them on a weekly basis. What you see on the map on our website is basically property crime and you’ll get motor vehicle as well,” said Mike Garland, OCSV program administrator. “The whole idea is to prepare the community and say these things are happening in your community.”

RELATED: Oceanside RCMP register bikes to deter thieves

Garland said the map is updated and run by a member of the community who showed interest in informing the public about the property crime happening throughout Parksville Qualicum Beach.

The map shows a busy cluster of red, yellow and green pins that each detail a crime that occurred and when. So far in 2019, 5,026 complaints have been made to the Oceanside RCMP, and these are included in the OCSV’s crime watch reports.

Garland says there’s a misconception that crime is up in Parksville Qualicum Beach when he believes it’s the reporting that is increasing, making the public more aware of crime that’s happening.

“We believe, selfishly, because of our awareness campaigns, more people are reporting,” he said. “It’s not so much more crime but it’s getting better-reported now.”

RELATED: How dangerous is Parksville when it comes to crime?

Another way crime is being brought to the public eye in a more heightened way then ever before is through social media. Thieving awareness sites have been appearing on Facebook for almost every community on Vancouver Island. For residents between Nanoose and Deep Bay, it’s the Facebook page Thieving Awareness Parksville, Qualicum And Areas that the public (if a member of the group) use to report crime or suspicious activity they have witnessed.

Although these sites can bring some awareness to community crime, Garland said they can also lead to assumptions and be nonfactual.

“We’re taught not to assume,” Garland said. “I think at the end of the day you have to look at the facts and that’s what people don’t look at.”

He added that the sites should eliminate the comment sections because that’s “where it gets personal.”

Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman, said RCMP members have a general awareness of the thieving awareness sites and they do check them from time to time. He said members have no issue with the sites, but their concern is that they should be a secondary option and the first call should always be to the police with information about crime or suspicious activity.

“The other thing that can be concerning is we have seen two cases of false identifications made on [thieving awareness sites],” Foreman said.

“Naming the wrong person, that could create a lot of problems… it can be construed as uttering threats or even criminal harassment. If you went civilly it could be libel.”

Foreman added that if someone has information that could help solve a crime, they need to report it to the RCMP first and shouldn’t try to identify the suspect online.

Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers always go to the RCMP first when they observe a crime or anything suspicious while out patrolling.

“Our whole philosophy is we’re not vigilantes, our job is to be ears and eyes for the RCMP,” Garland said.

“We go out and do a patrol…we phone the RCMP dispatch before we leave so they know we’re out and they advise all the members that are in the field. If they’re looking for a vehicle, or they’re looking for a suspicious person they know there’s volunteers (patrolling).”

RELATED: hundreds driving more than 10 km/h over speed limit in Parksville Qualicum Beach

There are currently 140 individuals volunteering with OCSV and Garland said they’re looking for “night owls” to do patrols between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

“It would appear that a lot of crime is occurring between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. We’re always looking for those volunteers to go out,” Garland said. “We won’t allow any volunteers to go by themselves, they have to be in pairs.”

For more information, visit oceansidecsv.org.

Just Posted

Parksville’s Kurz runs 160 kilometres in less than 24 hours

Former Ballenas athlete raises more than $8,000 for Terry Fox Foundation

Joint effort helps extinguish shop fire in Coombs

Firefighters quickly contain blaze that spread to nearby trees

1913 Ford Model T a hit at classic car show in Qualicum Beach

Hundreds of vehicles lined the streets on Father’s Day

Island farmers concerned with Agricultural Land Reserve changes

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting in Nanoose Bay

Parksville resort fire caused by flammable gas used to extract oil from cannabis

Investigators detail reasons for explosion and blaze that destroyed building

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

Driver of stolen vehicle caught after fleeing accident scene in Island community

Section of Chemainus Road closed until suspect located and eventually taken into custody

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s ‘Infidelity Hotlist’

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Most Read