Cumberland is growing quickly, but its crime numbers have held steady of late, at least when looking at year-over-year statistics.
For many categories, the calls for service numbers were similar, according to Insp. Mike Kurvers of the Comox Valley RCMP, who spoke to council at the latest meeting on April 12.
Overall, the number of calls for service was down some in 2020 at 710 compared with 766 in 2019, or down about seven per cent. Kurvers responded that these referred to actual calls into the detachment about incidents, adding the change from year to year is not significant.
Traffic violations were up slightly, from 83 in 2019 to 86 last year. Many of these involved speeding as well as problems associated with ATVs or motorcycles that council had reported to the RCMP.
There were the same number of break-ins reported for each of the last two years: 20. Thefts from vehicles were down quite a bit in 2020, at 13 compared with 30 during the previous year.
“I can’t tell you why we have a decrease there,” he said. “It could be a number of things.”
Kurvers also provided data for some violent offences.
“These are the ones that most communities want to know about because they’re significant files,” he said.
For assaults, the numbers dropped to 13 from 22, which includes various types of assault from common assault up to assault with a weapon.
“There’s different classifications … depending on the severity,” he said.
There were seven sexual offences, such as sexual assault, reported in 2020, up from five in 2019, adding they do get significant files out of the RCMP’s Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit, which is run out of E Division in the province as well as Ottawa. Much of the focus is on Internet activity.
“We have to really follow up on that stuff,” he said. “It’s prevalent throughout Canada…. We are trying to track it as best we can.”
Another category where reported cases dropped was in domestic violence, which went from 23 in 2019 to 14 last year.
As part of his presentation, Kurvers wanted to get direction from council on the top priorities for Cumberland when it comes to policing. Council passed a motion to re-affirm its top five goals as crime reduction, especially around prolific offenders; police-community relations; safety around watercrafts; traffic and road safety; and parks and campgrounds, especially Cumberland Lake Park. Members of council were happy with the effects of police visits to Kendal Avenue to respond traffic issues in the residential area.
Another strategy Kurvers recommended for council was to bring in local regulations such as a nuisance abatement bylaw that would help police respond to some infractions. He noted how the RCMP has been working with Courtenay on nuisance properties, which resulted in the arrest of 19 individuals at one property.