Insp. Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/DUNCAN RCMP detachment, said calls for service have been down during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

Insp. Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/DUNCAN RCMP detachment, said calls for service have been down during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP report calls for service down due to pandemic

But sex offences, arsons and drug offences are up

The local RCMP unit is reporting significantly less calls for service since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

In his quarterly report to the City of Duncan’s council, Insp. Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said that there has been about a 12 per cent decrease in calls for service since 2020 began.

He said the detachment received 20,869 calls for service so far this year, down from 23,679 over the same period in 2019.

“We have seen significant decreases in most areas, however we see some slight increases,” Bear said.

“Sex offences are up to 22 reports from 18, arsons are up to eight from six. Drug possession, impaired operation and 24-hour suspensions are up. This can be attributed to higher proactive officer time, increased traffic enforcement and check stops, and the regular patrols and enforcement for drug usage along the identified safety corridor.”

Bear said that after all of the changes brought on by the pandemic, the RCMP began to see some normalcy restored to operations and re-opening of businesses during the third quarter, from July through August.

“The summer typically sees an increase of calls for service, however given the pandemic, a number of large outdoor events, like music festivals, that typically happen did not occur, thus having less of a draw on policing resources,” he said.

RELATED STORY: 200-PERSON PARTY IN COWICHAN PROMPTS POLICE WARNING

“The community continued with the established campsites and hotel rooms for many of the Valley’s less fortunate. This has been realized as a much-needed service, which has had a positive outcome for both clients and community. These sites did not generate any notable increase in calls for service and, overall, policed themselves.”

Bear said that in March, the Warmland Community Policing program for the area was put on hold as a result of the pandemic.

“The program is also going through some restructuring at this time and will, hopefully, be up and running in the near future,” he said.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN VALLEY’S RCMP TESTED BY HEALTH CRISIS

Bear said in September, the detachment teamed up with Shawnigan Lake RCMP, Lake Cowichan RCMP, Traffic Services, BC Parks, BC Conservation Service and the Cowichan Valley Regional District to deter unsanctioned campouts and parties in the Valley.

“Typically, the parties are large in size with numerous underage youth consuming drugs and alcohol resulting in increased calls for service and higher risk of impaired driving, crimes against persons and health and welfare of the individuals,” he said.

“An awareness and prevention campaign took place with School District 79 and students and families. Patrols and enforcement were conducted and, as a result of the combined messaging and patrols, this was a non-event compared to years past.”



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

“Say cheese, uh, apple… nine-year-old Jason Moran and mum Bonnie are all smiles over a number of sales made during “apple day” of local cubs and beavers. Jason, a wolf cub, was one of 22 boys who, with the ready assistance of mothers, sold several boxes of apples in money-raising scheme for various projects.” (<em>The Lake News</em> Nov. 26, 1980)
Flashback: Crime wave, canoe misfortune and a highway lawsuit

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Following too closely

Maintaining a buffer in front of your vehicle gives you time to recover from inattention

Sonia Furstenau
Sonia Furstenau column: MLA vows to keep up the fight

COVID-19 continues to strain our communities

Heating cable laid in the cold frame, awaiting the layer of sand. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Greenhouse growing in the winter

I have a heating cable I’ve never used that I’m contemplating putting to work in the cold frame

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

Most Read