Williams Lake RCMP received 802 calls for service in the city, 113 calls for rual areas, between Jan. 1 and Feb. 29, 2020. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

RCMP see ‘dramatic’ increase in theft of vehicles, theft from vehicles in Williams Lake

Numbers have more than doubled in 2020 compared to first two months of 2019

Auto theft and theft from vehicles in the Williams Lake area have more than doubled in the first two months of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019.

RCMP Insp. Jeff Pelley gave council a crime report at its committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, March 3, and said since Jan. 1 there have been 36 auto thefts, up from 14 in 2019, and 62 thefts from motor vehicles compared to 20 in 2019.

“Our property offences have dramatically increased,” Pelley said, noting in February calls for service on property offences have gone from 79 in 2019 up to 236 in 2020.

“That’s been alarming for us, but at the same time we put out a cry in our communication to the public that we do want reports of theft from vehicles or attempt of theft from vehicles. It allows us to plot areas, or offender’s MOs or peaks times for our crime analyst.”

Pelley reported that during the first two months of 2020 officers responded to 802 calls for service in the city and 113 calls in the rural area.

Mischief offences increased with 117 in 2020, up from 55 in 2019.

Drug possession increased slightly with 17 founded incidents in 2020 up from 14 in 2019.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act offences increased with 32 in 2020 up from 26 in 2019.

Collisions increased with 54 in 2020 compared to 47 in 2019.

Impaired offences slightly decreased with 22 incidents in 2020 and 23 in 2019.

Assaults decreased with 27 in 2020 down from 38 in 2019.

Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm offences decreased with 12 in 2020 down from 14 in 2019.

There were five break and enters to businesses, the same as in 2019, while robbery offences decreased with two in 2020 down from four in 2019.

Break and enter to residences decreased by one as there were 13 in 2020 and 14 in 2019.

A total of 88 curfew checks in February, resulted in 21 breach offences for 11 different offenders, Pelley said.

“That number of breaches is actually higher than the norm, but it was also a higher than normal number of breach checks.”

There are currently six offenders wearing electronic monitoring devices, and two of them are prolific offenders.

Read more: Williams Lake City Council and community advocacy leads to GPS monitoring of six prolific offenders

“As we progress forward we have the potential for a seventh person on the electronic monitoring program as part of a conditional sentence order tied into property offences,” Pelley said.

Pelley said there has been an ‘extreme’ increase in mental health calls in 2020 compared to the previous year.

The detachment has also moved forward with a comprehensive witness management program for serious offences.

“We have four different individuals charged with first degree murder on two separate homicide investigations and we are continuing to make progress with one that is currently unsolved involving Richard Duncan who was deceased on Mackenzie Avenue,” Pelley said, but released no further information on the case.

Read more: Links probable between homicide, missing persons investigation in Williams Lake


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