‘Clean Sweep’ crime-fighting project a success: RCMP

Crime in downtown Chilliwack and other "hot spots" around the community took a beating under the RCMP's 'Clean Sweep' project, says Staff Sgt. Marty Blais.

Crime in downtown Chilliwack and other “hot spots” around the community took a beating under the RCMP’s ‘Clean Sweep’ project, says Staff Sgt. Marty Blais.

The short-term project is winding down now with a solid success under its belt, but will return in the fall.

Exactly where police will focus their crime-fighting efforts next, Blais isn’t saying.

“It depends on what we find out in the next few months,” he said.

Blais heads up the teams of plainclothes and uniformed RCMP officers assigned to keep relentless heat on criminal activity in certain “hot spots” identified by a crime analyst hired by the Upper Fraser Valley detachment.

Hiring the analyst was the third phase of a crime reduction strategy adopted from the United Kingdom by the RCMP here to make more efficient use of limited police resources.

The strategy is based on three ideas: identifying prolific offenders who commit most of the crimes in a community, identifying the causes of crime, and identifying crime hot spots.

Instead of driving around looking for crime, police officers focused their efforts on crime “hot spots” identified by the analyst.

Chilliwack’s downtown and the Ryder Lake area were two hot spots identified during the Clean Sweep project.

Over the 60-day life of the project, Blais said 67 arrests were made, including five prolific offenders, and 27 curfew checks were conducted, with the result that two-thirds were found in breach of court-ordered curfews.

They now face additional charges and possible jail terms.

Clean Sweep officers also seized illegal drugs and recovered items stolen in home break-ins.

After a rash of break-ins in Ryder Lake, RCMP officers met with area residents and soon arrested two suspects at a house on Lookout Road where more than 50 stolen items were discovered, including power tools, antiques, art work, jewelry, computers and personal identification.

Const. Tracy Wolbeck said one of those suspects remains in custody and the other has been released on condition they not to return to the Ryder Lake area.

“These arrests were due to the hard work and intensity of the pressure police put on the suspects, and is a significant highlight of Clean Sweep’s success,” she said.

Blais said the “police/public partnership” was the deciding factor in slamming the door on the Ryder Lake break-ins.

RCMP Insp. Hilton Smees agreed, saying the “significant success of the project is a direct result of the dedicated police officers working closely with (the) community who provided excellent information leading to these arrests and charges.”

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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