The total number of calls for police service have increased in the Comox Valley, according to year-over-year statistics from 2018/19 and 2019/20. The exception is Cumberland, which dropped from 792 to 739 calls during this time frame.
From April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, the top 10 police file types in Courtenay were suspicious occurrences (1,483), traffic complaints (945), causing disturbance (805), unspecified assistance (640), Mental Health Act calls for service (470), 911 abandoned calls (459), mischief (436), as well as property found and false alarms.
This accounts for 44 per cent of 14,827 calls for service from Courtenay residents last year.
There were 103 business break and enters, and 91 residential B & Es reported last year.
There were 76 other B & Es of trailers and other such property.
“That’s significant,” Comox Valley RCMP Insp. Mike Kurvers said in a June 8 presentation to Courtenay council. “With the prolific offenders, a lot of calls correspond to a few people.”
There were 21 files of auto theft under $5,000, 10 files for auto theft over $5,000, eight files of truck theft over $5,000, seven files each of motorcycle theft under $5,000 and theft of ATVs, and five files of truck theft under $5,000.
“It’s not that significant compared to the global picture,” Kurvers said. “A lot of it is the core of Cliffe Avenue, and around Superstore. The business core is going to get hit a little bit.”
Break and enters, he added, are “all over the map.”
Coun. Manno Theos, concerned about property crimes and increasing drug offences, questioned why there has been a spike in public disturbances, which increased from 1,345 in the last fiscal year to 2,832 this year.
Kurvers said the bulk of calls relate to clients on the street, many of whom suffer from addictions and mental health issues.
“We try and manage those,” Kurvers said. “A lot of individuals are on conditions, so we try and breach those people. A lot of times we try to get them to hospital and get them to treatment…our first goal is to get them assessed.”
As advised by council, police priorities for Courtenay are traffic and road safety, and crime reduction, with a focus on property crimes.
Bike patrols are a full-time unit. Residents can expect to see them in summer and winter.