DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — Members from the RCMP detachments in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, and Tumbler Ridge gave presentations to the Peace River Regional District Board outlining regional crime statistics from last year.
Speaking first, Fort St. John detachment commander Insp. Mike Kurvers said that officers had seen an overall decrease in service calls in the rural area, from 3,246 in 2016 to 3,200 last year. He said that overall, most types of crime had decreased, while others increased slightly.
Insp. Kurvers said that rural arsons dropped significantly last year compared to the year prior, from 21 to six. Property crime and violent crime saw substantial decreases year-over-year with the exception of sex offences. Those increased from seven to 22 in the past year. The number of vehicle thefts, drug-related offences, and impaired drivers also increased from 2016 to 2017.
Dawson Creek’s acting detachment commander Sgt. Mike Richard said that rural calls in the South Peace have increased 33 percent compared to 2016, with police being called out 1,917 times last year. Sgt. Richard said that vehicle thefts were a big problem in 2017, with an average of 15 to 17 vehicles being stolen every month. He did attribute at least part of that to a large chop-shop operation in Doe River, north of Rolla, which was shut down by police last year.
Sgt. Scott Hromadnik said that the Chetwynd RCMP had a busy 2017, which he attributed to an uptick in oil and gas industry activity near his community. Sgt. Hromadnik also said that his detachment has been focusing recently on traffic enforcement, as roads in the Chetwynd area claimed seven lives last fiscal year.