Break-ins at Parksville Qualicum Beach businesses soar in 2018

RCMP blames ‘travelling criminals’ for big spike

Break-ins to businesses in the Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Nanoose areas jumped a considerable amount in 2018.

“If you look at 2016 for the [break-and-enters] to businesses we jumped from 45 to 62 in 2017 to 138 last year. That’s huge,” said Oceanside RCMP staff Sgt. Marc Pelletier at a regular Parksville council meeting on Feb. 4.

Pelletier said the “concerning” jump in break and enters is partially due to “travelling criminals” that he said come through the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, commit crimes and take off to other communities.

“We got a gentleman on Thursday, he did three [break-and-enters] in this area and he got picked off in Nanaimo with stuff from the [break-and-enters] here in Parksville,” Pelletier told council. “We know nothing about them because we don’t know these guys.”

RELATED: RCMP officer injured as wanted man captured in Parksville

Pelletier urges businesses to install security cameras and alarms and to call the RCMP immediately after a break-in.

“We need to be informed right away. Most of these guys we will know unless they are the travelling criminals,” he said.

Coun. Doug O’Brien asked Pelletier if there are any patterns with the break-and-enters and whether they are tending to happen in certain areas of the city.

“For any business, it’s always going to be at night, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., that’s the key time,” Pelletier said. “Most of the residential, surprisingly enough they’re in the daytime.”

Pelletier said B&E’s to residential homes and theft of motor vehicles didn’t see much of a change since 2016 but that theft from motor vehicles went up significantly from 291 in 2017 to 426 in 2018.

“You just can’t leave your cars unlocked and anything inside, no sunglasses, no change, nothing because you will get broken into,” he said.

Coun. Adam Fras asked Pelletier what kind of public education he believes is the most effective to get people to really grasp the importance of not leaving belongings in their vehicles.

“It’s basically common sense,” Pelletier said. “You can talk about it till the cows come home, saying ‘please don’t leave anything in your vehicles’ and people will still leave stuff in their vehicles.”

Mischief went up from 356 in 2017 to 471 in 2018 and disturbance calls went up slightly from 151 in 2017 to 195 in 2018.

“If you look at drugs (offences), you see that went down and the reason behind that is we’re not charging anybody for marijuana anymore so it dropped from 134 (in 2017) to 99 (in 2018),” Pelletier said.

Motor vehicle accidents have been declining each year, with 619 in 2016, 574 in 2017 and 448 in 2018. Traffic offences went up last year because, Pelletier said, the RCMP now has a three-man traffic unit giving out more tickets.

Calls for service went up from about 12,000 in 2017 to 14,400 in 2018.

“We want people to call,” Pelletier said. “If you have something in your neighbourhood we want you to call, don’t wait until the next morning, call right away. No call too small if we can attend, we will.”

Coun. Al Greir asked whether there could be more surveillance by RCMP members to possibly curb some of the break-and-enters.

“Maybe police on bicycles to maybe ward of some of these invasions because I notice lots of kids and characters riding around on bicycles too and people that look like they’re looking for things to break into,” Greir said.

Pelletier responded by saying the Oceanside RCMP have an “aggressive property crime unit” and drug unit surveying the streets.

“Those guys are in plainclothes… the plainclothes guys do not attend any calls, they’re out either doing surveillance or targeting the prolific offenders. They will sit on these guys for days on end,” Pelletier said.

He added that the RCMP implement their bicycle patrols in downtown Parksville typically in early May.

karly.blats@pqbnews.com

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