Inspector Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said property crime has increased in the City of Duncan since the new year. (File photo)

Increase in crime in Duncan connected to COVID-19 crisis, police report

RCMP state more people being released from prison during pandemic

There have been increases in arson, assaults, break-and-enters and drug offences across the Cowichan Valley since the new year, and it’s likely connected to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, according to the RCMP.

In the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment’s quarterly report covering January through March of this year that was presented to Duncan’s council on May 4, Insp. Chris Bear said when the pandemic first struck the community in March, the RCMP’s operating procedures were changed overnight.

He said those include the closing of the RCMP’s front counter to the public, limiting contact between police and public, postponing trials and the release of prisoners.

RELATED STORY: DUNCAN RESIDENTS INCREASINGLY CONCERNED ABOUT CRIME AND SAFETY

“In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many accused persons have been released from jails on conditions,” Bear said.

“This has created a substantial increase in property crimes.”

Bear also said another alarming trend that has arisen since January is that a number of fires have been deliberately set in the greater Duncan area, including fires that appear to have been started by people trying to stay warm, with many being set in dumpsters in the city.

“We do have several persons of interest and are investigating further into these fires,” Bear said.

“We are reminding the public to keep an eye out for fires and try not to leave items laying around that are available to burn.”

But, overall, Bear said there has been a four per cent decrease in calls for service at the detachment from the same time period last year.

He said 5,136 calls for service were received across the region from January through March, compared to 5,350 last year.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN GOING AHEAD WITH NEW RCMP DETACHMENT AAP

“Some improvements over last year were noted,” Bear said.

“For the City of Duncan, shoplifting, break-and-entering into residences, mischief and disturbance calls were down.”

Bear said the charges laid in the quarter specifically in the Duncan area include 71 drug possessions, 52 for causing disturbances, 40 break-and-enters, 30 assaults, 11 DUIs, 10 for drug trafficking and five for sex offences.

He said that of all the calls for service received by the detachment in the quarter, approximately 49 per cent came from North Cowichan, 23 per cent were from Duncan, 11 per cent were from the Cowichan Tribes and Indigenous lands, nine per cent came from the provincial areas and eight per cent originated from people coming to the RCMP office directly.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Police

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artists lined up as Duncan gallery gets ready to reopen

“Our window displays for June showcase the work of some of the Island’s finest artists”

Mary Lowther column: Sometimes life gets in the way of gardening

The cover crop of winter rye still waves at me from the garden

Sarah Simpson Column: Siblings are the best (and the worst, by default)

If my brother-in-law wanted a walk, he was going to have to work for it.

Maple Bay animator helps lead Netflix’s ‘The Willoughbys’

Family comedy with A-list voices has Cowichan Valley ties

CVRD may have to delay 11 capital projects scheduled for 2020

More than 50 of the 81 projects are complete or are schedule for the year

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read