Crime Reduction unit wraps up busy summer of patrols in Cowichan

After more than 170 bike patrols and more than 150 foot patrols, the Crime Reduction Unit has wrapped up the 2016 summer enforcement season

After more than 170 bike patrols and more than 150 foot patrols, the Crime Reduction Unit of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP has wrapped up the 2016 summer enforcement season, but not before responding to one last incident of concern to public safety.

Around 11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26, several residents of the 3200 block of Cowichan Lake Road called 911 after hearing what they believed to be gunshots. Police, including members of the Crime Reduction Unit, talked to residents and conducted foot, bike and car patrols before eventually locating homemade explosive devices on the nearby Trans Canada Trail.

“The items were seized and police believe there was no longer a concern for public safety,” detachment spokesperson Cpl. Krista Hobday said. “The residents were contacted and apprised of the outcome.”

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

That was just one of many jobs for the Crime Reduction unit this summer.

“The Crime Reduction Unit is designed to provide a highly visible response to crime in our community and remain focused on our goal of safe streets and neighbourhoods,” said Insp. Ray Carfantan, the officer in charge of the detachment.

Prior to the summer enforcement season, Crime Reduction Unit Leader Cpl. Colin Cook promised to crack down on cycling infractions, and his team delivered.

“Last year, a lot of warnings were issued for unsafe cycling practices in an effort to promote compliance,” he said earlier this year. “Unsafe riders this year can expect stricter enforcement.”

More than 240 violation tickets were issued for speeding, not wearing bike helmets, sidewalk infractions, and more. More than 100 written warnings were also issued.

Members of the Crime Reduction Unit patrolled everywhere from the 39 Days of July downtown to the area’s many bridges, the Trans Canada Trail, Waterwheel Park in Chemainus, beaches, river walks, green spaces and streets, as well as Providence Farm, Cowichan Bay and Rock of the Woods.

“They joined forces with neighbouring detachments and units from within the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment,” Hobday said. “They bolstered our number of boots on the street during peak hours and were able to patrol areas prone to street level drug exchanges and public intoxication. They assisted in missing person investigations and located a few individuals that had been beckoned on behalf of the Queen to have an audience with a judge. They were in the crowds at most community events and were still out there while you slept. They consumed a lot of water and applied even more sunscreen.”

The appreciation of the unit’s efforts was made known and reciprocated.

“As much as CRU had an enjoyable summer serving their citizens, the citizens enjoyed seeing them out and about,” Hobday said.

Bike patrols will continue in fall and winter.