Prince Rupert RCMP S.SGT. Pascal Baldinger met with council in December to provide an update on the RCMP’s activities. The update also comes following a recent report released by Maclean’s magazine claiming Prince Rupert was among the Top 20 most dangerous places to live in Canada.
“There’s no surprises with the stats. It’s been in the same trend, since the last few years,” Baldinger said. “However, it is misleading because it doesn’t capture the number of offences where the victim and the offender are known to one another compared to stranger-on-stranger offences.”
Baldinger explained that offences in Prince Rupert are mainly interactions where offenders are known to the victim.
One individual linked to nine separate break-and-enters in Prince Rupert in 2018 caused the property crime statistics to increase.
“Because the stats are based on 100,000 people, it looks like we have a lot of property crime, which is in fact quite low. Overall, we have a small population in Prince Rupert that we deal with and if we have one or two stats, that increase that’ll spike some of these statistics for us,” Baldinger said.
Next year’s crime severity index for Prince Rupert will also be affected due to a change in the way Statistics Canada has police report on crime. Previously, when complaints were received, it was possible to report them to StatsCan as unsubstantiated, meaning they are unable to confirm or deny that offences actually occurred. Since January 2019 scoring of unsubstantiated was removed, resulting in an increase in the number of founded offences.
Starting this month, residents will be able to report crime online through an app or through the online website. The online crime reporting system is for any files that police do not have to go in person to attend, which is expected to take a lot of unnecessary paper work off their plate and free up their time for more serious crime.
“So if somebody’s bicycle is stolen in their backyard, and the value is under $5,000 with no suspects, no witnesses, or no video, but just the serial number they can just go on to the website, they type in all the information and they get a police file number and just to track it,” he said.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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