Top Stories: Crime rates rose this year

Reflecting on the headlines: Anxiety over Chilliwack’s rising crime rate dominated public discussion through much of 2016.

After a spike in violent crime hit Chilliwack

After a spike in violent crime hit Chilliwack

Join us at The Chilliwack Progress as we take our readers on a thoughtful trip down memory lane. Our Top Stories will recap the most significant news events, milestones and emerging themes that have shaped Chilliwack in 2016. It was undeniably a notable year, from an unprecedented spike in homelessness, to major development news, to the community revealing its keen interest in crime and politics, and a most caring heart.


•  •  •


Anxiety over Chilliwack’s rising crime rate dominated public discussion through much of 2016.

The concern started early; the city’s 2016 budget was modified at the last minute to add additional police resources.

But that was just the start.

By year end, the city would fortify the local detachment with 10 new police officers.

The concern wasn’t just perception.

From March of 2015 to March of 2016 theft from vehicles climbed 57 per cent, auto theft jumped 38 per cent,  property crime increased 33 per cent, while weapons offences soared 114 per cent.

In April, local RCMP joined with the Abbotsford Police and the Mission detachment, to launch Project Valley Sweep. The three-month operation was directed at chronic offenders who travelled between jurisdictions to commit their crimes.

In the first three weeks, officers checked 160 people from a list of repeat offenders, and made 34 arrests.

By the end of June, statistics showed a two-per-cent reduction in property crime throughout the communities, along with a nine-per-cent drop in thefts of vehicles, thefts from vehicles and break-and-enters.

But that wasn’t the only measure police introduced. As anger and anxiety grew following a several violent events in the downtown – including a very public murder – RCMP Supt. Deanne Burleigh announced in May foot patrols in the downtown.

“We’re moving our resources where we need them,” Burleigh told city council.

The increased police presence was welcomed by a public alarmed by the brazen thefts and the escalating level of violence. Social media was abuzz with calls for action and claims crime was out of control.

One downtown restaurant owner even closed his doors, claiming he was concerned for the safety of his staff. “I don’t feel safe anymore,” wrote managing partner Fabrizio Rossi in a Facebook post, “so I will shut the doors of Society Gathering House next week and fence my building until better and safer times.”

Both Supt. Burleigh and Mayor Sharon Gaetz called for calm. They pointed out that most of the violence was confined to a sector of the community engaged in a criminal lifestyle.

And they called on the public to do its part to prevent crime, like locking vehicles and keeping valuables out of view.

To help them, the city announced a new crime mapping tool in June. The online resource lets community members see what crimes have occurred in their neighbourhood and where. It also offers tips on crime prevention.

But the big news was the announcement of 10 new RCMP members that would be added in 2017.

The additional members will cost $1.7 million annually, said Mayor Gaetz.

“This hopefully will demonstrate just how serious the City of Chilliwack is in the way we tackle crime here,” she said.


Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Chilliwack firefighters watch as an O’Connor Towing operator removes a stolen Volkswagen station wagon from the Fraser River off Cannor Road in west Chilliwack on June 13, 2021. (William Snow photo)
PHOTOS: Stolen vehicle dumped in Fraser River in Chilliwack Sunday

Search and Rescue determined there was no one inside the car found upside down off Cannor Road

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read