Lillooet RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Mike Eling says deploying the detachment’s resources in a strategic manner has helped to lead to a “very significant” decrease in crime in the Lillooet area from 2014 to 2015.
Sgt. Eling said the detachment has focused its attention on violent crime; increased impaired driving enforcement; improving community relations through programs such as DARE and coaching youth sports; and developing a care plan with other agencies i.e. Lillooet District Hospital, for individuals with mental health issues.
“We said, ‘Let’s concentrate on matters that really matter the most,” he told District of Lillooet Council June 6.
Although some of the sample sizes were small, property crime dropped from 150 cases in the 2014 calendar year to 128 in 2015 – a 15 per cent decline, which exceeded the target of a five per cent reduction in the property crime rate. The number of violent/person crimes declined from 72 in 2014 to 50 in 2015 - a decline of 31 per cent. The number of domestic violence files declined by 29 per cent from 21 cases to 15 cases.
The number of mental health related files declined by four per cent – from 45 in 2014 to 43 in 2015.
The number of motor vehicle collisions involving alcohol declined by 70 per cent – from seven in 2014 to two in 2015.
Total Criminal Code offences dropped from 306 in 2014 to 263 in 2015 – a 14 per cent decline.
The 2015 report covers Areas A and B, Xwisten (Bridge River) and Lillooet. The other northern St’at’imc communities are policed by the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police.
He said the 2014-15 numbers don’t reflect the “boom” that is occurring in Lillooet that is currently bringing more transients and temporary workers into the community.
“We’re seeing a little bit of a spike in property crime, but nothing significant.”
Sgt. Eling added that the detachment has been short-staffed this year, with only four officers as of Apr. 1.
He said a new recruit has arrived, a second recruit was scheduled to arrive June 8 and the new corporal was in town last week for a house-hunting trip and should be on duty at the end of next month.
Responding to a question from Councillor Laurie Hopfl, Sgt. Eling said the Restorative Justice program is “not used that often” in Lillooet. He said the types of crime that would fit a Restorative Justice process don’t happen frequently in Lillooet.
He added, “It takes both parties be a part of the process and a lot of the time, one party is reluctant.”