From left

Crime ‘hot spots’ targeted by RCMP

Targeting crime hot spots in Chilliwack - and beefing up police patrols in those areas - is the latest RCMP strategy to maximize its limited resources to push back against crime in this city.

Targeting crime hot spots in Chilliwack – and beefing up police patrols in those areas – is the latest RCMP strategy to maximize its limited resources to push back against crime in this city.

But it’s an “intelligence-driven” strategy that requires the eyes and ears of law-abiding citizens to report crimes-in-progress and any suspicious activity in their neighbourhoods.

“We need the public to really take a role in crime-fighting in the Chilliwack area,” said Staff Sgt. Marty Blais, who heads up the teams of plainclothes and uniformed officers who will patrol the hot spots.

“We want (the public) … to identify what’s happening out there (and) report it to the police as soon as it’s observed,” he said.

The police half of the partnership works this way:

A crime analyst will identify where the crimes are happening, so police can focus their patrols in those areas, and develop 14-day trends so the officers can be on the watch for criminal activity in those areas where the criminals might move next.

But key to the success of the strategy is the other half: public participation.

“It’s the ultimate way of doing policing in the Chilliwack area,” Blais said, about the police/public partnership.

He urged residents to look beyond their own front doors and “take charge of your neighbourhoods” by reporting suspicious activity to the police.

Like seeing people knocking on doors in the neighbourhood, which criminals often do to see if anyone is home.

“We need people to report these individuals to us, and we will send police vehicles (to investigate),” Blais said.

Chilliwack RCMP recently discovered $12,500 worth of drugs and a number of firearms in a home as a result of the new strategy. Two people were arrested, and the investigation continues.

Staff Sgt. Suki Manj, commander of the plainclothes unit of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment, said the idea behind the strategy is to make more efficient use of limited police resources.

Instead of police officers driving around looking for crime, he said based on the crime analyst’s data, plainclothes and uniformed officers will be sent out to patrol the crime hot spots “where they know it’s happening.”

He said hiring the crime analyst to identify “where we’re getting hit” by criminals is the third phase of a crime reduction strategy adopted from the United Kingdom.

That strategy is based on three ideas: identifying prolific offenders, identifying the causes of crime, identifying the crime hot spots,

Under the overall crime reduction strategy, former standalone police units like drugs, street crimes, plainclothes, were merged into one crime reduction unit for the detachment. A serious crime unit was left intact to respond to major crimes.

“The crime reduction unit is proactive, rather than reactive,” Manj explained.

A prolific offenders program was also started, which identifies repeat offenders or those with a certain number of “negative contacts” with the police.

The program also gets input from federal and provincial Crown counsel, and other criminal justice agencies like probation and parole.

Manj said the prolific offenders program “has been extremely successful in reducing our crime statistics over the last two or three years.”

But individuals “who really (aren’t) a threat to the public as a criminal, but may develop criminal tendencies based on their social problem,” are also identified, he said, and that forms part of the second phase of the strategy – the causes of crime.

Social agencies working with alcohol/drug addiction, homelessness, and mental health were enlisted to form “care teams” to counsel these individuals, as well as the prolific offenders, he said.

The program gives prolific offenders a “chance to clean up,” he said, and “get out of the lifestyle.”

If they choose not to take part, the refusal forms “concrete evidence” that will be presented to a judge during sentencing hearings, he added.

Meanwhile, Blais urged Chilliwack residents to “take the opportunity” to chat with the uniformed officers they see in their neighbourhoods, and report to them anything that should be brought to police attention.

“We want feedback from the public,” he said. “Tell us what you see and hear.”

Just Posted

Rally in the Valley in Chilliwack to talk stewardship

It’s an event to connect interested locals with groups making a difference with species at risk

Drugs, firearms, cash seized by Chilliwack RCMP last week

CDSA search warrant at Landing Drive home linked to suspicious activity

Around the BCHL: Merritt forward Mathieu Gosselin is BCHL Player of the Week

Around the BCHL is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

UFV hosts revitalized Literary Festival featuring some of its previous writers-in-residence

Taking over Mission’s festival, UFV hopes its Literary Festival will be just as popular

Final list of 2018 election candidates confirmed for Chilliwack and beyond

Friday was the deadline for filing nomination papers of candidates running in the 2018 elections

U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to resume talks with the U.S.

New political party holds an informational session in Vernon

Maxime Bernier’s The People’s Party of Canada draws about 2o interested patrons to Vernon pub.

B.C. MLAs reminded of rural school struggles

Finance committee hears of falling enrolment, staff shortages

B.C. VIEWS: ’Not photo radar’ coming soon to high-crash areas

ICBC deficit now largely due to reckless and distracted driving

Researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada

Information will be used to learn more about where white sharks move in Canadian waters

Mix-up of bodies leads to funeral home reforms in Nova Scotia

One woman was was mistakenly cremated, another was embalmed and presented to family members during a visitation that went horribly wrong

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Cyclists finish North America trip to highlight Ukraine struggle

The 10,000 bike ride raised over $10,000 for victims of the war in Ukraine.

21 new paramedics promised for B.C. Interior

A total of 18 new full-time paramedics will be hired for Kamloops and three are being hired for Chase.

Most Read