Property and violent crimes were way up in the Cowichan Valley in the last three months of 2021, with big increases in mischief, assault and uttering threats cases, according to a police report.
In the quarterly report for October through to the end of December, Insp. Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said the City of Duncan led the way in those crimes.
But Bear noted that while crime is up in a number of categories late last year from the same period in 2020 and in some year-to-date comparisons, this is largely the result of significantly low numbers in 2020.
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“From 2019 to 2020, there was a 33 per cent drop in violent crime, and a 41 per cent drop in property crime,” he said.
“When 2021 is compared to 2019, violent crime is still down 19 per cent and down 15 per cent for property crime.”
Bear said that in Duncan, there were quite a few calls regarding pellet guns in the last quarter of 2021 that are contributing to the increase in mischief files.
“For the assaults and uttering threats complaints, we are seeing more confrontations between staff and security and homeless people, as well as violent shopliftings, which are contributing to those increases,” he said.
Bear said that from October through to the end of December, calls for service regarding mischief, assaults and uttering threats were up 51 per cent across the Valley when compared to the previous three months, and for the year, these calls for service increased 48 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020.
He said the increases in the last quarter of 2021 were driven primarily in the City of Duncan, which saw an 81 per cent increase in calls for service regarding these crimes, compared to a 16 per cent increase in the Municipality of North Cowichan and a 36 per cent increase in Cowichan Tribes land.