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Calls to Pemberton RCMP down in 2018

RCMP presents crime statistics and new initiatives to VOP council
Inspector Kara Triance, officer in charge of the Sea to Sky RCMP Detachment, and Cpl. Mike Hamilton of the Pemberton RCMP discussed 2018 crime statistics at the Feb. 20 Village of Pemberton regular council meeting. Photo By Joel Barde

Village of Pemberton (VOP) council received its bi-annual update on crime statistics and policing initiatives at its Feb. 19 regular council meeting.

The Pemberton RCMP saw an 11-per-cent drop in calls in 2018 compared to 2017, explained Cpl. Mike Hamilton of the Pemberton RCMP and Insp. Kara Triance, officer in charge of the Sea to Sky RCMP Detachment, in their presentation to council.

The number of violent offences was in line with last year, with 68 such offences in 2018 compared to 71 in 2017.

Property crime also stayed relatively flat, with about 107 such incidents. Notably, there were no commercial break-and-enters or auto thefts in 2018, said Hamilton.

There was, however, an uptick in bicycle thefts, with 13 bicycles going missing.

Hamilton explained that the bikes were stolen by teens, and that the issue was dealt with through a community-based model, rather than laying charges, and that since the intervention the thefts have stopped.

The number of criminal charges laid in 2018 dropped 16 per cent from 2017, with 150 laid in 2018.

That number has been influenced by some targeted policing in 2017, as well as a broader trend in policing where officers are required to carry out more administrative work for each investigation, explained Insp. Triance. Officers "aren't able to process through as many files as they were in the past," she said.

In line with Whistler RCMP, Pemberton RCMP continues to put a focus on impaired driving, with increased check stops resulting in 100 drug and alcohol infractions ticketed in 2018, compared to 68 in 2017.

A constant issue for the RCMP remains policing the area around the downtown community barn, where there are ongoing issues around public consumption of alcohol.

Councillor Amica Antonelli asked if there is anything that the Village could do to improve the situation.

Triance suggested anything that the VOP could do to bring families, and lighting and "attractiveness" to the area would be helpful, noting that many of the people of concern may suffer from mental health or addiction issues.

She cited the basketball courts and playground behind the community centre as a good example of bringing more activity to an area.

"That brings people there, and that ... moves along people who are just hanging out," said Triance, who also suggested advocating for mental health services.

Cpl. Hamilton followed up the discussion by saying he would reach out to the mental health team at the Pemberton Health Centre on this issue.

The overcrowding issues at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park were also discussed, as Pemberton RCMP has expressed serious concerns over visitor parking on the shoulder of Highway 99.

"We don't have the authority to humanly lift this issue alone," said Triance.

VOP Mayor Mike Richman suggested that the two parties could work together to push for a meeting with the province in the spring concerning the issue and possible solutions.

"I think together we can bring a lot more strength to the conversation," he said.

In other policing news, the Pemberton RCMP can now deploy "RCMP scarecrows" to help with efforts to reduce speeding; the standup cutouts feature an RCMP officer holding a radar gun.

"Coquitlam RCMP had some great success with the RCMP scarecrow, and Mike (Hamilton) asked if we could park a few officer scarecrows around the highway," explained Triance.

"I said we'd give it a try, and if it doesn't work, we can put them in the recycling bin," said Triance, adding that it was an inexpensive investment.