Violent crime up, property crime down in West Vancouver
West Vancouver Police Chief Peter Lepine made public the department’s 2011 crime statistics Monday.
In short, violent crime and drug offences are up and property crime is down.
In a year that saw 35 fewer calls to the WVPD, officers responded to 10 per cent more incidents of violent crimes such as assaults, robberies and sex offences over the previous year.
Arrests for illegal drug use also rose 15 per cent in 2011.
But the department saw too successes in its crackdown on property crimes, Chief Lepine told West Vancouver council Monday night, highlighting an 18-per-cent overall drop in break-ins and thefts.
In a follow up to the meeting Tuesday, the department issued a press release blaming career criminals from outside the community for West Van’s property-crime woes.
“The analysis of our property related incidents once again clearly indicate that the vast majority of criminal activity is perpetrated by a handful of prolific offenders,” wrote WVPD spokeswoman Const. Lisa Schmidtke, “all of whom reside outside of the North Shore.”
Lepine also took the opportunity of addressing council to outline the challenges the WVPD faces going forward. His primary worry, he said, is the backlog in the court system.
“I am somewhat concerned by the reduction in court services and availability of judges within our local courthouse on the North Shore,” Lepine told council. “The Premier’s recent announcement of the provincial government’s justice reform initiative to address this and other pressures with the B.C. justice system may address my concerns; however, it will get a lot worse before we see any advancement on any recommendations that may come from this review.”
Back on the crime statistics front, Lepine advised council of his concern about the rise in violent crime in West Vancouver for the second consecutive year. A rise in incidents of domestic violence was particularly worrisome, Lepine said, though the specific numbers of domestic violence cases was not provided in the 2011 crime stats.
The majority of WVPD’s 291 callouts for violent crimes in 2011 were for assaults, numbering 157. That category was seconded by 55 incidents of non-specific violent crimes, followed by 51 threats uttered, 16 sex offences, six cases of criminal harassment, five robberies and one attempted murder.
Property crimes by the numbers show police attending 212 shoplifting cases, 195 incidents of mischief, 183 thefts from vehicles, 177 thefts, 124 frauds, 71 residential break-ins, 24 general break-ins, 19 commercial break-ins and 24 vehicle thefts.
Overall, West Vancouver ranked among Metro Vancouver’s most crime-free municipalities, behind only Port Moody with the fewest offences per capita.