Williams Lake has seen an increase in some crime offences so far in 2020, noted a report from RCMP Insp. Jeff Pelley during the committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, Dec. 8.
He outlined crime statistics from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2020.
Increased crime rates
Property 0ffences overall have increased with 1880 calls for service in 2020 versus 1773 calls for service in 2019.
Auto theft has increased with 128 offences in 2020 and 122 offences in 2019.
Theft from motor vehicles have increased with 268 offences in 2020 and 238 offences in 2019.
Break and enter to businesses have increased with 61 incidents in 2020 and 54 offences in 2019.
Mischief offences have increased with 669 offences in 2020 and 570 offences in 2019.
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) drug possession offences have increased with 116 offences in 2020 and 103
offences in 2019.
CDSA drug trafficking offences have increased with 63 offences in 2020 and 52 offences in 2019.
Collisions have increased with 274 incidents in 2020 and 253 incidents in 2019.
Decreased crime rates
Persons offences overall continue to decrease with 643 calls for service in 2020 and 736 calls for service in 2019. A decrease of 13 per cent.
Robbery offences have decreased with 13 offences in 2020 and 19 offences 2019.
Assault with weapon or causing bodily harm offences have decreased with 48 offences in 2020 and 51 in 2019.
Break and enter to residences have decreased with 69 offences in 2020 and 84 offences in 2019.
Assaults have decreased with 190 offences in 2020 and 227 offences in 2019.
Fraud offences have decreased with 171 offences in 2020 and 176 offences 2019.
Impaired offences have decreased with 158 offences in 2020 and 168 offences in 2019.
Investigations and convictions of interest identified by Pelley for mayor and council
On Oct. 1 2020, the Williams Lake RCMP entered into an investigation of a male with a firearm who fled on Western Avenue. The investigation revealed the prolific offender who was wanted due to multiple arrest warrants and removing his electronic monitoring device.
The offender was located at another location and a firearm was found disposed of in a neighbourhood. The offender was held in custody and additional offences of uttering threats and unlawful possession of a firearm were sought. The firearm is believed to be stolen and a public assistance bulletin was released in attempts to identify an owner of the firearm.
On Oct. 25, 2020, the Williams Lake RCMP entered into an investigation involving a vehicle that fled from police in two neighbouring jurisdictions. The RCMP attempted to box the vehicle in that was driving in a dangerous manner putting the public at risk.
Following a pursuit and four attempted spike belt deployments, the vehicle was stopped in Williams Lake resulting in the arrest of the driver. The arrest of the driver was held in custody on new charges and eight outstanding warrants for arrest were extended from Alberta.
During the offender’s arrest, a bystander had video recorded the arrest and there were allegations of excessive force being used. The video did not capture all the details of the event and is separate from the RCMP in car camera footage. The full context, risk assessment and use of force is under review and is being investigated by the Independent Investigation Office. There is a parallel RCMP Code of Conduct investigation currently underway to assess all the facts.
On Oct. 30, 2020, a known suspect was stopped for driving while prohibited after being proactively targeted. The suspect was well known to police and arrested for multiple offences with a search recovering a quantity of methamphetamine, identification cards, and stolen water pump from a rural fire department. The offender continues to be a priority for the Crime Reduction Unit and is scheduled to be in court on Dec. 16, 2020, pending charge approval by Crown Counsel.
On Nov. 21, 2020, the Williams Lake RCMP stopped a vehicle proactively that had several defects. The driver was identified and arrested on outstanding warrants and a search of the vehicle subsequently located a modified handgun that was prohibited.
The suspect was held for court and charged with several weapons offences that included possession of a prohibited weapon, unauthorized possession and two breach charges. Firearms and violent offences associated to high risk offenders remain a priority of the Williams Lake RCMP.
On Dec.3, 2020, Williams Lake RCMP and North District Traffic Services attempted to stop a black Dodge Magnum for a motor vehicle act offence. The vehicle fled from officers and a spike belt deployment disabled the vehicles tires. The vehicle continued to flee into a rural area and was subsequently located resulting in the arrest of two occupants.
The driver is still under investigation and Criminal Code charges of dangerous driving and flight from police are expected to be recommended for charge approval.
There are presently five offenders on electronic monitoring, and two of those are in custody due to breaking their conditions, Pelley said, noting currently there are 14 prolific offenders and three of them are in custody.
Coun. Scott Nelson said his concern is that some offenders are not getting put on the GPS monitoring.
“At what point in our entire life do we look to Crown to put GPS on these guys so that we can track them? What do these criminals need to do to get Crown’s attention?” he asked.
Pelley said the RCMP have had some great successes with Crown and additional measures have been added working with the Crown and Probation Services, including a list of crime residences where it is advised that offenders should not be released to.
“I think we’ve been progressive with some of the most recent offenders and violent offenders, but there is more work to do,” Pelley added.