The numbers are in from Prince Rupert’s RCMP service in 2017.
While the force is supposed to have 50 members between the RCMP and Coastal Policing Unit, there were between 35 and 41 members in 2017. The annual review of the RCMP services, which appeared in the city’s annual report, said the declining numbers were due to fiscal restraint, illnesses, transfers and parental leave.
In the 2018 crime severity index, Prince Rupert is 28 out of 229 communities in Canada for crime, but it rises to 21 on the violent crime severity index.
Although the number of calls to the RCMP has dropped from 9,502 calls in 2016 to 9,139 calls in 2017, violent crime is on the rise. In a year, violent crime increased by 5.94 per cent from 2016 to 2017, including assault, assault with a weapon, sexual interference, sexual assault and uttering threats.
“I haven’t noticed anything drastically different,” Corporal Devon Gerrits said of the increase in violent crimes. “I’ve worked in Prince Rupert for five years, and everything seems on par.”
The rate of domestic violence in Prince Rupert is higher than any other community in the North District of B.C. that has a population of more than 8,000 people. Gerrits said this may be due to filing paperwork about a case correctly, and noting whether an incident is related to domestic violence.
“We’re working the files properly,” he said. “I think it’s checking off those boxes why it’s being shown this way, is we’re scoring it the right way, the way it should be.”
Prince Rupert RCMP has been ramping up their driving check stops, with 818 more traffic contacts and 68 more check stops in 2017 than the year before.
“We want to promote safe driving habits, whether that be issuing violation tickets, verbal and written warnings. Just trying to get the point across and I think we’re seeing the results,” Gerrits said.
This year, Prince Rupert RCMP aim to continue their safe driving initiative, particularly targetting impaired and distracted driving. They will also work on increasing their visibility in the community and decreasing domestic violence.
“Our officers are working hard constantly and trying to decrease these numbers. We’re trying to promote safe communities and safe relationships,” Gerrits said.