Police hone in on White Rock's 'nemesis': property crime
At a glance, crime statistics from 2013 suggest White Rock is a city with problem drivers and a plethora of property offenders.
The numbers show that police issued 45 per cent more traffic tickets last year (1,190) than in 2012 (823), handed out 133 per cent more warnings to drivers and dealt with 817 property offences – a sizable number for a community of just over 19,000.
But RCMP Staff Sgt. Lesli Roseberry – who shared the stats with White Rock council Monday – said the situation is far from gloomy.
Compared to surrounding municipalities, and the Lower Mainland as a whole, "we're doing pretty darn well," she said.
As example, Roseberry noted Surrey's 2013 robbery rate was 406 per cent higher than White Rock's, where just six robberies were logged last year.
Langley recorded 228 per cent more auto thefts than White Rock; and, there were 235 per cent more business break-and-enters in the Lower Mainland District.
Roseberry described property crime as White Rock's nemesis, and said curbing it has been a priority in the last four years. The 2013 offences in that category were down slightly – three per cent – from 2012, when 846 were logged.
One category with a notable increase was that of 24-hour suspensions issued to drivers impaired by drugs. That number jumped to 29 in 2013, from 17 in 2012 – a 71 per cent boost.
"We are noticing more individuals impaired by drug than ever before," Roseberry said.
Dropped 911 calls also remain a concern, accounting for 13 per cent (785) of the detachment's calls for service last year. The figure is 25 per cent lower than in 2012, when 1,047 dropped calls were logged.
As every one of those calls must be investigated, the issue is a significant drain on resources, Roseberry said.
Other statistics of note included an increase in mental-health files (to 186 from 171) and a 53 per cent drop in the number of business break-and-enters.
Councillors' questions to Roseberry ranged from inquiring about the use of auxiliary or security officers at events to reduce policing costs; and if the crime data could be broken down geographically.
Coun. Helen Fathers asked Roseberry about police use of social media – how many followers the detachment's Twitter account has and what she thinks of the recent move that enables citizens to report some Surrey-based crimes online.
"It wouldn't be something that I would want to go in in White Rock," Roseberry said of the latter.
"We like to engage with all our complainants. We have the time to do that here. The engagement… is very important in White Rock."
Regarding Twitter, Roseberry said efforts are underway to boost its use. (The account currently has 1,792 followers; the last tweet as of this week was sent on Jan. 7.)
She noted the detachment's account (@WhiteRockRCMP) is managed by the media liaison, who only recently stepped into the role and has had her hands full.