Year-over-year crime stats were on the agenda at city council’s regular meeting Tuesday night.
In a report to council, Castlegar top cop RCMP Sgt. Darren Oelke compared crime statistics between 2017 and 2018 for his detachment.
In an interview Wednesday, Oelke highlighted what he felt were some of the significant changes.
He said a dramatic drop in break-and-enters (59 in 2018 as compared to 79 in 2017) was likely due to police work.
“I think it’s probably because of one prolific offender who is now in jail,” he said. “One individual can wreak havoc and really skew statistics.”
He said crimes against persons were up to 138 from 107 in 2017, with 64 assaults compared to 64 in the previous year, and 12 sexual assaults, up from 7. He said crimes against persons can also include crimes like uttering threats and criminal harassment.
“It’s hard to attribute that to any one factor, that’s stuff that can’t be under control as much as other types of crime,” he said, explaining any population increase, such as a shut down or festival – even weather trends – can impact crimes against persons.
“It’s more situation-dependent,” he said, adding these files are often drug or alcohol related.
“These statistics are the ones that are reported, as opposed to ones that resulted in charges.”
Motor vehicle collisions went down from 206 to 204, but MVIs causing fatalities went up from one to three. Impaired driving went down 30 to 23, but impaireds causing MVIs went up from 32 to 38.
The total file count remained fairly constant, with 4,578 calls in 2017 and 4,447 in 2018 – a drop of just over one per cent.
Despite the decriminalization of marijuana, drug files remain exactly the same, with 45 drug investigations per year.
“We haven’t noticed a big difference (since the law changed),” Oelke said. “Everyone was kind of bracing for what was going to happen, but we haven’t really noticed anything. It’s just status quo.
“Our CRU team (Crime Reduction Unit) has been very active,” he added. “There have been a lot of drug seizures, and we intend to keep pushing hard with that.”