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Major increase in assault drives statistics from NPD

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
June 25th, 2024

There has been a 124 per cent increase in assaults in Nelson this year, according to the latest crime statistics released from the Nelson Police Department.

Chief Const. Donovan Fisher said that calls for service for assault has jumped to 65 so far this year, up from 29 last year at this time. Speaking to City council on June 18 during a committee of the whole workshop, he said the NPD did see a correlation between higher crime and substance abuse and homelessness.

He pointed to those two factors as part of the root of the higher crime rate afflicting the city right now.

“Increases in substance abuse can lead to more offences, particularly related to theft, assault and public disorder,” he said. “Changes in the homeless population can impact crime statistics, particularly in areas near shelters.”

The rise did not sit well with Coun. Rik Logtenberg who wondered what percentage of the calls were made to deal with prolific repeat offenders — the same few people who are responsible for the offences.

“Is this increase systemic, is it likely to continue, or is it a product of one or two people or a group that has arrived in town that are driving the increases?” he asked.

“It is certainly focused on a small number of people,” Fisher said.



In March, there were 14 break and enters reported in Nelson and were attributed to three people, who were subsequently arrested and put in jail, so that statistic is dropping, said Fisher.

Overall, there have been 2,450 calls for service so far this year, up from the 2,392 calls from last year, an increase of 2.42 per cent. Significant changes in crime rate by location were at 310 Ward Street — which saw a 91 per cent increase, from 34 calls in 2023 to 91 so far this year — and the area near the Stepping Stones shelter — a 63 per cent drop in calls for service, from 197 in 2023 to 102 this year.

“This is sort of the trend of following the crowd that is often at the centre of that type of mischief, minor assaults, thefts and property damage,” said Fisher.

Some crime categories increased significantly but was based on a small sample size, such as offensive weapons (anything branded in a dangerous manner)‚ which saw a 300 per cent increase — from one to four offences this year.

Sexual violations saw an 11 per cent increase — from nine to 10 calls for service — while break and enter incidents did see a significant uptick in calls by 47 per cent, from 23 last year to 34 this year.

“We have had a bit of a spike in those, especially in the early part of the spring,” he said

“I think the department has been doing a good job at (preventing) those now with some targeted patrols,” he said. “So I think at the end of the year … we will see a little bit of a decline in those stats, but unfortunate they are still happening.”

The crime category of fraud has also reported an increase by the NPD, with a 34 per cent rise based on 35 calls, compared to 26 at the same time last year.

“There has been particular concern about fraud being aimed at seniors,” said Mayor Janice Morrison.



On the minus side of the ledger, some crime categories actually have decreased so far this year, including theft (down nine per cent to 175), traffic violations (down 38 per cent to 29) and threats and harassment (a drop of eight per cent to 21).

Categories: General

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