Crime ‘torrent’ hit yarrow, says councillor

"It's very serious," said Coun. Jason Lum at the last Chilliwack city council meeting

Yarrow Community School was broken into four times since the beginning of the year.

Add to that eight other property-related crimes in the tight-knit community of Yarrow in the southwestern corner of Chilliwack.

“It’s very serious,” said Coun. Jason Lum at last Tuesday’s council meeting, referring to what he called a “torrent” of thefts and break-ins in recent weeks.

“The school was hit again this morning,” he said, adding that “by all accounts it’s drug-related crime we’re talking about.”

RCMP officials confirmed the Yarrow school suffered break-ins on Jan. 7 and Jan. 19, as well as Feb. 4, and Feb. 5.

The councillor said he would like to see the city’s public safety committee or the rural issues committee take on the challenge.

“We need to work with RCMP to see that people don’t feel like victims,” he said. “People need to feel they are being heard and responded to in a timely fashion.”

Focusing on prolific offenders seems to be yielding results, Lum said.

But thieves may have figured out it can be a long time before a police response due to the distance to Yarrow, he suggested.

“Quite frankly it’s unacceptable,” said Lum.

But RCMP Insp. Tim Bain told The Progress that police response time is not an issue for Yarrow.

“It’s not an issue because the police are on the road all the time, and respond to calls as need be,” he said.

Police calls get triaged like at a hospital.

The higher priority ones get the quickest response, so in the case of an emergent situation in Yarrow, it would be “the number one” on the triage list, he said.

“We’re very cognitive of the issues with break-ins in our schools,” said Insp. Bain. “We’re taking proactive measures to address them.”

The officer sits on both the public safety and rural issues committees, and unfortunately these challenges are not only unique to Yarrow.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz urged the public at the council meeting to always call in incidents of crime.

“You may not think it changes anything to report something to police, but it really does.”