WHITE ROCK – The number of major crimes in the City by the Sea dropped last year as property crime continued to remain a priority for police.
In a presentation to council, Staff Sgt. Lesli Roseberry of the White Rock RCMP compared local crime stats from 2013 to 2012, showing a decrease in major crimes.
Robberies were down 33 per cent in 2013, dropping from nine to six, while weaponsrelated offences dropped 43 per cent from 14 to eight.
Break and enters to businesses dropped 53 per cent from 47 to 22 and the number of stolen vehicles dropped 42 per cent from 59 to 34.
Roseberry said the decrease of break and enters was likely due to the arrests of local break-and-enter artists part way through 2013.
Other crimes that went up included road prohibitions, which increased 56 per cent from 116 in 2012 to 181 in 2013, and violent offences, which were up less than one per cent from 167 to 168.
The number of traffic warnings issued saw the biggest increase at 133 per cent, going from 314 in 2012 to 732 in 2013, while drug-related vehicle suspensions rose 71 per cent, from 17 to 29.
Roseberry said White Rock officers are “seeing more individuals impaired by drugs than ever before.”
In addition, compared to nearby municipalities, White Rock remains low in all areas of crime.
For robberies in 2013, Surrey had a 406 per cent higher rate than White Rock while Langley’s was 261 per cent more. Violent crimes in Surrey and Langley were 200 and 147 per cent higher, while auto theft was 326 and 228 per cent more, respectively.
As for challenges, Roseberry said that while crime might be generally decreasing on the whole, the cost of policing was on the rise.
“The time it takes me to (process) a domestic violence incident is 10 times as onerous now,” she said, attributing it to greater standards requested by Crown counsel.
Roseberry also said, with the advent of video and more evidence being made available for incidents, it simply takes that much longer to process.
“We are challenged by the cost of policing in this day and age… but this is a challenge across the Lower Mainland.”
As for the force itself, Roseberry said White Rock RCMP has 23 officers on staff, or roughly one for every 840 residents. Surrey currently has 673 officers – roughly one for every 747 people. Despite the seemingly low ratio of officers to residents, she said officers were able to maintain a level of community engagement that might be more difficult in larger municipalities such as Surrey.
“We sit here in White Rock and we are affected by the other jurisdictions, but (our stats) show we are doing pretty darn well,” said Roseberry.
“I think our partnerships have something to do with that and our officers are doing good work in the community.”
On behalf of council, Mayor Wayne Baldwin thanked Roseberry and the rest the White Rock RCMP for their work.
“Thank you very much, detachment and civilian staff and volunteers do an excellent job and we are very grateful,” he said.
“You make us a safe and better community.”