Rise in stolen vehicles, drop in robbery: crime report

WHITE ROCK – Incidents of stolen vehicles in White Rock jumped up 74 per cent in 2014 after falling that same amount the year previous.


That was one statistic to come out of White Rock RCMP’s annual crime statistics report, which was presented to council Monday night (March 23).


For stolen vehicles, 59 were stolen in 2014 compared with 34 in 2013 and 59 in 2012.


Staff Sgt. Lesli Roseberry was on hand to explain the numbers, and noted that in instances such as car theft, it was "generally one or two individuals in our community committing these crimes, and when they’re caught we see a dramatic decrease."


Such was the case in terms of thefts from automobiles, which increased 35 per cent to 287 in 2014, she explained.


In that instance, Roseberry said that an individual had been breaking into highrise parking lots and hitting numerous vehicles at a time.


"We’ve recently identified and recommended 12 charges against one individual that has been responsible for a number of these incidents," she said. "Since his arrest we’ve seen a decrease in these types of incidents."


Other crimes that saw increases were violence in relationship charges, which saw an increase of 38 per cent as well as common assault, which went up 24 per cent. For both incidents, the 2014 number of incidents was 40 and 61 respectively.


But while some stats did see an increase over the past year, on the whole, crime was


generally down.


Assault with a weapon incidents dropped 33 per cent to eight instances in 2014, while general robbery continued its decline by dropping another 50 per cent to three incidents. The largest decrease came in the form of 24-hour driving suspensions, which fell 55 per cent to just 13 incidents in the last year.


In terms of priorities, Roseberry said road safety and enforcement, property crime and hard drugs were the three focuses for policing in 2014.


With that in mind, she said officers issued more than 1,750 traffic violation tickets last year. For drugs investigations the city saw the number drop 37 per cent from 172 to 108.


"Most work (related to drugs) was proactive in nature," she explained of the reduced number.


In terms of challenges, Roseberry said while crime in White Rock is down in general, the cost of policing continues to rise, as do the scenarios in which police are called.


"Threats on Facebook did not used to occur. Ten years ago we did not have to attempt to locate iPads or iPhones and most incidents now require police to search video footage (from nearby sources)," she said.


Roseberry also noted that police in White Rock were turning into "first responders for treating the mentally ill," which hasn’t always been the case.


"The RCMP are currently working diligently with Fraser Health to examine these issues to find concrete solutions and decrease the use of resources for these mental health matters," she explained.