Inspector Eric Rochette is the new officer in charge of the Port Alberni RCMP. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Inspector Eric Rochette is the new officer in charge of the Port Alberni RCMP. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Port Alberni RCMP sees drop in property crime in late 2020

Clamp-down on prolific offenders seen as one reason

Port Alberni RCMP saw a decrease in property crime at the end of 2020.

The detachment’s Officer in Charge Inspector Eric Rochette brought a report to Port Alberni city council on Monday, Jan. 25 with statistics for the last quarter of the year (covering the months of October to December).

Rochette explained that there has been a “significant” decrease in property crime in the city. A lot of this is driven by break and enters, which are down by 81 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019. Theft from vehicles is down by 65 percent.

“Our crime reduction unit has really clamped down on our prolific offenders,” explained Rochette. “We’ve seen a reduction every quarter [in 2020].”

Shoplifting is also down, from 54 calls in the last quarter of 2019 to just 10 calls in the last quarter of 2020. Rochette attributed some of this to COVID-19 restricting the number of people allowed in stores.

Although the second and third quarters of 2020 saw a 100 percent rise in domestic violence, the increase in the fourth quarter was not “as dramatic,” said Rochette. Calls for domestic violence increased by around 10 percent compared to the same time last year.

Violent offences went up by 19 percent overall. Rochette attributed some of this to COVID-19 putting “a lot of pressure” on people.

“I don’t want to put everything on COVID, but it has a huge impact,” he said. “Something that I’ve noticed in the last couple months is the level of requests for assistance with mental health, which is all linked to this as well.”

Rochette also presented statistics for the entire year of 2020. Overall in 2020, calls for service went down by approximately five percent compared to 2019.

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