Crime down 26 per cent from last quarter in Nanaimo

Mischief, traffic offences bring rate down but residential break-ins, weapons offences on the rise.

Overall crime was down 26 per cent compared to last quarter in Nanaimo.

RCMP Superintendent Norm McPhail, officer in charge of the Nanaimo detachment, addressed city council Monday with the crime figures for the period of Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.

Factors that reduced the overall crime rate were drops in mischief, including graffiti offences, which was down to 307 offences from the previous quarter of 347 due mostly to police efforts to mitigate the problem, and traffic offences, due mostly to tougher drinking and driving laws.

“We attribute the drop in impaired driving offences to immediate roadside prohibition legislation that was brought in,” said McPhail. “People’s  attitudes on driving while impaired have changed for the better and that has shown up in the numbers. That legislation in the province, overall, has reduced fatal crashes by 40 per cent compared to last year.”

Motor vehicle thefts across the city were down from 80 over the summer to 38 in the third quarter. Illegal drug activity was also down.

Residential break-and-enters across the city, however, are on the rise. That category saw a considerable increase in activity with a 50 per cent rise from 195 break-ins for the year to date last year to 293 for the same period this year.

“That can be attributed to some offenders that have been released back from the system and are back active in the community. But we’re up 50 per cent in that area so we’re focusing resources on that to bring it down,” said McPhail.

Commercial break-and-enters were down nine per cent.

Other crimes that increased were shoplifting, sex offences and weapons offences.

McPhail said policing priorities for the past year included crime reduction, youth, traffic and the downtown core. For the upcoming year, Nanaimo RCMP will focus resources on continuing its presence in the downtown core, expanding its liquor control strategy to the city’s north end and increasing resources on nuisance properties that foster crime.