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Violent crime was down across the board in Pemberton last year

Incidents of violent crime dropped from 148 to 94
Pemberton RCMP’s year-end report showed crime dropped significantly in 2021. File Photo.

Violent crime in the Village of Pemberton was down across the board in 2021, with the total number of reported incidents dropping to 94 from 148 the year prior.

The biggest decreases came in total assaults, common assaults and domestic violence, which dropped 49 per cent, 48 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively—together accounting for a drop of 43 incidents.

The one violent crime category that saw an increase in 2021 was sexual assault, which went from four cases in 2020 to six in 2021. However, the total number of sex offences—which includes everything from indecent exposure to sexual interference and child and adult offenses of a sexual nature, according to Staff Sgt. Sascha Banks—was cut nearly in half, dropping from 16 cases to nine.

“The pandemic years are unlike any other years that we have had. So we thought comparing 2020 and 2021 statistics to anything that was 2019 and prior was sort of irrelevant and probably not noteworthy,” Banks said in a presentation at Pemberton’s July 12 Committee of the Whole meeting. “But we will definitely have something more next year when it comes to looking at the 2022 stats.”

While violent crimes decreased almost across the board, the opposite was true when it came to property crimes.

For the most part, increases in most property crime categories were miniscule, and consisted of just one or two more offences than the year prior. The one category that saw the biggest increase, though, was fraud, which grew by 175 per cent—from just eight cases in 2020 to 22 in 2021.

“I think that’s something that has been a general trend coming out of the pandemic … you were seeing some of those increases in frauds that were going around because people were online a lot more,” Banks said. “And they were isolated a lot more, and they were seeing [those types of crimes] across the board, no matter what municipality that you’re in.”

Outside of the property and violent crime categories, there were also decreases in cases of public intoxication and mental health-related incidents, while missing persons cases rose by 27 per cent.

In general, motor vehicle incidents were also on the rise in 2021, led by instances of impaired driving, which were up 35 per cent last year.

Thankfully, the one exception in the motor vehicle category was in the number of fatal collisions, which dropped to zero in 2021.

Moving forward, the Pemberton RCMP plans to put more focus and resources into its mental health services, as overall mental health-related incidents are up from years past, according to Banks.

“There’s no doubt that mental health has been a concern for a long period of time,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s a secret to anybody that the pandemic has certainly been a catalyst of making this more in the forefront, which is where it needs to be.”

A focus on mental health is included in the RCMP’s first of five strategic priorities (crime reduction and community safety). The other four priorities include: road safety; operational excellence and emergency planning; partnering for social impact; and employee excellence and workplace culture.

Some of the specific actions in the strategic priorities include: putting more focus on seasonal tire checks; an increase in intelligence-led policing; yearly wellness checks for employees; health initiatives and physical fitness challenges between detachments; and more operational planning for high-volume weekends with proactive enforcement initiatives, among others.

All stats presented pertain only to the Village of Pemberton, and do not include the surrounding area.