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Chilliwack RCMP calls for service went down during the pandemic but not domestic violence

Crimes against persons saw six-per-cent decrease, but domestic violence calls were up 22 per cent
Recent RCMP statistics presented to city hall show an overall decrease in calls for service in 2020 compared to 2019, except for domestic violence. (Black Press file)

Crime statistics recorded by RCMP in 2020 showed that calls for service trended downward in Chilliwack – except when it came to domestic violence.

Calls-for-service reflected an overall decrease of eight per cent, from January to December 2020, according to RCMP numbers from RCMP Insp. Davy Lee, as compared with the same period in 2019.

Insp. Lee presented the report to the City of Chilliwack public safety advisory committee, which was recently posted online with the Jan. 25 special council meeting agenda.

“The trending down is attributable to the increased visibility of the daily foot patrols,” Insp. Lee said in his report.

The other factor is the pandemic, and the way it has decreased social interaction so dramatically.

Crimes against persons saw a six-per-cent decrease year-to-date, but domestic violence calls were up by 22 per cent.

That dovetails with Ann Davis Transition Society saying crisis calls were up by more than 43 per cent for most of 2020.

RELATED: Crisis calls on the rise at Ann Davis Transition Society

The biggest decrease in one category was in commercial break-and-enters, with a 53-per-cent decrease.

There was a 36 per cent dip in property crime.

“We have seen some pretty positive trends in terms of property crime,” noted Coun. Jason Lum, who co-chairs the public safety committee. “I think it also reflects a number of strategies being undertaken, from RCMP and bylaw enforcement, but also at the health and social service tables that are taking on crime-reduction, as well as by those involved with crime prevention and restorative justice organizations.”

The high visibility of the foot patrol in the downtown is undoubtedly a factor, he added, and pointed out that RCMP have also been making an effort to communicate with downtown business owners to work proactively on crime prevention and resources.

“However, I am always very cautious about patting ourselves on the back too quickly,” Coun. Lum said about crime trending down in general.

“We have also been seeing an increase in those domestic violence calls. Anecdotally we have been hearing the restrictions of the pandemic has led to an increase in both mental health and domestic calls, not just in the City of Chilliwack, but everywhere. This is very concerning.”

RELATED: Chilliwack’s property crime and violent crime rates were tops in region for 2018

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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