Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Crime statistics highlight areas of concern in Prince Rupert

Last week the two local papers provided their interpretations of recently released statistics on crime in Prince Rupert.

To no ones surprise vandalism has become a major portion of local files of the RCMP with 562 reports filed in 2007, a sizeable increase when compared to the 443 of 2006.

Of even more concern will be the spike in assaults both sexual assaults and common assaults, which both clocked in with ten year highs last year.

There were some areas where crime has been reduced in the city, break ins are down, as are common thefts, but auto theft is starting to move upwards from where the numbers were five years ago.

Overall Prince Rupert’s crime rate is 257 per 1,000 up a fair amount from 1998 when it was at 198 per thousand, and that at a time when the population of the city was significantly larger than it is today.

The growth in crime in the city will of course be of interest to many, who have been waiting for an answer from City hall to the growing scourge of broken windows and vandalized building sides.

With a fair amount of money delivered to the city on an annual basis from traffic fines collected in the city, the continuing short staffing of the local detachment could be one question that pops into a taxpayers mind.

While one or two extra constables on a shift may not be able to put much of a dent into the upswing of crime, it could at least provide for a declaration that the City understands that there is a problem and it needs to be addressed and if nothing else, help to share the load of those that are tasked with patrol duties on a daily basis.

So far, that seems to be a message that hasn’t been delivered thus far by our elected officials.

Crime rate in town continues to increase
Report shows Rupert still has crime problem
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Pages one and two

Even though Prince Rupert’s population has steadily declined by almost 3,000 residents in the last 10 years, the crime rate has increased almost every year since 1998.

The latest report from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics shows provincial declines in violent crime, homicides and property crime, and that overall crime reported to British Columbia RCMP is down for the third year in a row, and at the lowest recorded levels in 30 years.

John van Dongen, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety, released a statement this week claiming the government has made substantial investments in policing and public safety, including an $128 million increase to the annual policing budget and the return of $250 million in traffic fine revenue to local governments to support their crime-fighting efforts.

However despite overall crime decreasing provincially, the statistics released paint a different picture for the city of Prince Rupert, where the number of Criminal Code offences reported in 2007 was higher than any other year in the previous decade. A total of 3,453 offences were reported in Prince Rupert in 2007, up from 3,091 reported in 2006. In fact the only other year that the number criminal code offence exceeded 3,200 in the last decade was in 1998, when 3,248 were reported.

The crime rate in Prince Rupert has also steadily increased nearly every year in the last decade. The crime rate was reported at 198 per 1,000 residents in 1998, and has increased to 257 in 2007. When compared to a B. C. provincial average crime rate of 104 in 2007, double the provincial average.

The number of violent crimes in Prince Rupert also jumped dramatically from 500 in 2006 to 660 in 2007, by far the highest amount reported in the last ten years.

There were 57 sexual assaults reported in Prince Rupert last year, the most reported since 2002 when the same number were reported. The number of non-sexual assaults in Prince Rupert was also at a 10 year high in 2007 with 596 reported.

Last year was the only time since 1998 that the number of assaults exceeded 500, the closest being in 200 when 489 were reported.

When it comes to vandalism in Prince Rupert, 2007 saw a record number of reports with 562, a considerable jump from the 443 reported in 2006.

But the news isn’t all bad. Despite many forms of crime increasing in the city, residents may be surprised to learn that the number of property crimes reported to Prince Rupert RCMP in 2007 was a 10-year low at 653, more than a 50 per cent reduction from the 1,319 reported in 1998. Break and enters were also at a 10 year low in the municipality with only 132 offences reported in 2007, nearly a 50 per cent decrease from the 257 in 1998.

The number of those break-ins that occurred to Prince Rupert residences last year is smaller than it has been in a decade with 71 offences, compared to the 175 reported in 1998.

Twenty-one motor vehicle thefts were reported in both 2006 and 2007, less than the 32 reported in 2005 but still higher than in 200, 2001, and 2002.

Overall thefts in Prince Rupert last year were also the lowest in 10 years with 455 reported in 2007, a more than 50 per cent decrease from the 915 reported in 1998, and significantly less than the 562 in 2006.

The number of thefts from motor vehicles reported in 2007 was 122, one more than the 121 reported in 2006, but still well below the ten-year average.

Crime stats show many 10-year highs in Prince Rupert
By Shaun Thomas

The Northern View
Published: August 26, 2008 2:00 PM
Updated: August 26, 2008 2:16 PM

The provincial government released its report on crime and crime trends for 1998 to 2007 on August 26 and the document shows that while the crime rate has hit a 10-year low in B.C., Prince Rupert had some 10-year highs when it comes to the number and rate of crimes last
There were 3,453 criminal code offences reported in 2007, the highest in the last decade.

That number is up 362 from 2006, and the next highest number of criminal code offences was reported in 1998 when 3,258 criminal code offences were recorded. The crime rate, which is the number of crimes per 1,000 people, sits at 257, another 10 year high and an increase of 30 compared to the 2006 numbers.

In comparison, Terrace had a crime rate of 207 per 1,000 people in 2007.

Another telling statistic is a drastic increase in the number of violent crimes, which sits at 660 – an increase of 160 compared to 2006 numbers and another 10-year high in the city. This is the first time that number has passed 500 in the last decade, with a 10-year low of 423 recorded in 1999. The number of sexual offences tied a 10-year high at 57, which was also recorded in 2002.

The number of non-sexual assaults also saw a significant increase, climbing to a 10-year high of 596 – a full 107 more than the next highest number recorded in the last decade, and the number of thefts was at a 10-year low of 455. Vandalism offences also sat at a 10-year high of 562, 119 more than the next closest year.

However, the number of property crimes fell to a 10-year low of 653, well below the 1,319 recorded in 1998 and a full 54 below the next lowest number. Break and enter offences also sat at a 10-year low of 132. There were 21 Motor Vehicle Thefts in 2007.

These numbers are based on municipal information, and do not include provincial RCMP numbers.

No comments: