Police in White Rock investigated nearly 900 crimes in the first nine months of this year and a breakdown of the files shows increases in nearly category, including one that jumped 600 per cent.
But the city’s top cop was quick to assure the boosts are not a reason for great concern, with many of the percentage differences the result of a relatively small increase in actual incidents.
“As you can see our numbers for most offences remain low in terms of number of incidents, and so the when there is an increase or decrease the percentage change can appear significant,” Staff Sgt. Lesli Roseberry told Peace Arch News.
According to statistics shared Monday, the 600 per cent increase was in the category of sexual offenses. Seven were reported between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, compared to just one in the same period last year.
Roseberry said the figure does not mean all of the offences were committed in the city, or even this year.
She wouldn’t get into specifics of any of the cases, but did say public alerts were not deemed necessary in any of them.
The crime “snapshot” emailed to city council and Peace Arch News notes an overall 15.5 per cent increase in Criminal Code offenses in the city as of Sept. 30.
Aside from sexual offences, the biggest jumps were seen in robbery (50 per cent, to three from two), violent crime (36 per cent, to 91 from 67), frauds (34 per cent, to 75 from 56), drug trafficking (33 per cent, to eight from six) and auto theft (31 per cent, to 42 from 32).
Roseberry attributed the jump in fraud reports in large part to a tax-bill scheme that made its way across the province over the summer and fall. At one point, the detachment was fielding several complaints a day from residents reporting they had been threatened with criminal proceedings unless they paid an outstanding tax bill.
Property crime remains the biggest problem for police, with 618 incidents reported through Sept. 30, compared to 582 a year ago; the figure is a jump of 6.19 per cent.
Domestic assault also continues to be a concern, however, Roseberry said the upward trend is connected in part, at least, to a greater awareness of the issue and resources.
Across the Lower Mainland, “we do believe that the reporting of such incidents has increased, and that’s a good thing,” she said.