Despite several high profile incidents in recent months, police say violent crime is actually down 21.84 per cent in Williams Lake.
The statistics compare the months of January through to May, 2014, with the same time this year and show reductions in several areas.
“I’m quite happy with these stats,” said Staff Sgt. Del Byron Wednesday. “Some people are pushing the panic button in Williams Lake but these numbers show we’re getting the job done.”
Byron credits the prolific offender program with the reduced crime rate, noting the community of Alexis Creek is also experiencing a 20.69 per cent reduction in violent crime from the same time last year.
He said inter-agency meetings are held monthly as part of the prolific offender program to keep track of the whereabouts and progress of 12 identified prolific offenders. Also, each of the prolific offenders are assigned to an RCMP officer for added attention.
The statistics do come at a time, however, when the city has experienced several high profile crimes; including the unsolved murder of Jesse (Delmer) Frank whose body was discovered on the ice below the Rudy Johnson Bridge Jan. 2, and more recently, an assault and stabbing May 31 as well as a car chase and shooting on Western Avenue June 6.
A meeting to discuss gang violence in Williams Lake was also scheduled for Thursday, June 18.
“There have been violent incidents that have scared the public, I get that — obviously we have gang-related tensions in the community,” Byron said.
“But in these cases we need the public’s help, we need witnesses who are willing to come forward and give evidence and even testify if they have to, we can’t do it on our own.”
Byron commended his officers for their dedication and hard work.
“It’s a heavy workload. We’ve been calling officers in on their days off, in the middle of the night, and they’re coming in. I am very proud of our officers and the work they are doing.”
Byron said other areas of crime that are down according to the statistics include; assaults down 13.64 per cent, auto theft down 3.92 per cent, break and enter of residences down 21.21 per cent, fraud down 25 per cent, harassment down 62.75 per cent, kidnapping down 100 per cent (from one to none), theft over $5,000 down 100 per cent, robberies down 12.5 per cent, sexual assaults down 9.52 per cent, shoplifting down 49.28 per cent, drug offences down 22.31 per cent and drug trafficking is down 26.19 per cent.
Areas of crime that have increased include; theft from vehicles up 107.89 per cent, possession of stolen property up 57.14 per cent, mischief up 29.63 per cent, break and enter to businesses up 12.5 per cent and thefts from businesses are up 37.50 per cent.