While anecdotes on social media rarely match up with reality, when it comes to crime in Chilliwack, the ugly picture painted is real.
Chilliwack still has by far the highest rate of property crime in the Fraser Valley, according to statistics presented to Abbotsford City Council by the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) on Nov. 6.
Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 25, per 100,000 population Chilliwack had 6,581 property crime incidents, a three per cent increase over the same period in 2018.
That is 70 per cent higher than the rate in Abbotsford of 3,862 per 100,000, which is down nine per cent year over year.
The data comes from PRIME-BC, the information management system police use across the province to record and access real-time data about crime. The APD shares data in a public meeting with Abbotsford city council regularly. Chilliwack RCMP shares its data with Chilliwack city council in a private meeting.
In the multi-jurisdictional property crime comparison, the APD provided numbers for Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley, Mission, Ridge Meadows and Surrey.
While Chilliwack’s property crime rate so far this year is 70 per cent higher than Abbotsford’s, which had the lowest of those cities, it’s also 29 per cent higher than the second highest in Mission with a rate of 5,108.
Next is Langley at 4,923 per 100,000, followed by Ridge Meadows at 4,092 and Surrey at 3,863.
A similar presentation by the APD in April showed that Chilliwack has among the highest overall crime rates while spending the least amount of tax dollars on policing.
At that time, Mayor Ken Popove said the issue is important to city council and the are acting by hiring six more police officers in this year’s budget. He added that he knows people want more police but each officer is a $172,000 expense to the municipality.
In 2018, the Chilliwack crime rate over 7,708 per 100,000 population was up from 7,493 in 2017.
As for violent crime, the picture also is not good. At 2,162 incidents per 100,000 population so far in 2019, that’s more than double Abbotsford’s rate of 954 per 100,000.
The local rate is also 33 per cent higher than Mission, 25 per cent higher than Ridge Meadows, and 90 per cent higher than Surrey and Langley.
As for the most serious of crimes, there have been five homicides so far this year, the highest since 2016, including two in the last three weeks.