Chilliwack RCMP’s top cop Supt. Bryon Massie addresses city council at the July 17 meeting. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

RCMP update shows complications of policing in Chilliwack

Partnerships the key moving forward, city’s top cop says

As the fall municipal election looms, there is likely one topic that will continue to spur debate: Crime.

Despite efforts to increase police numbers and provide more social support, crime remains a top concern among many residents.

On Tuesday, Supt. Bryon Massie, Officer in Charge of the Upper Fraser Valley Detachment was before Chilliwack city council to provide an update on the first half of the year.

In the job for only the past six month, Massie has been getting reacquainted with what is one of the busiest and complicated jurisdictions in the province.

His detachment stretches from Chilliwack to Boston Bar, encompassing several local governments, First Nations and the regional district.

In Chilliwack, the number of boots on the street has grown by 15 members over the past two years. But the municipal force remains a busy place.

Not only are police responding to more calls, but the complexity of those calls is increasing.

Indeed, assaults and other “crimes against persons” have grown by an unnerving 38 per cent.

Property crimes are down, Massie added. But he’s the first to admit that it might be because fewer break-ins are being reported.

Still, he is confident smart policing and strategic partnerships will make a difference. The detachment’s prolific offender unit made 187 arrests between January and June, targetting the core group responsible for the bulk of vehicle thefts and property crimes.

Its Crime Reduction Unit and drug section seized cocaine, fentayl, meth, cash and weapons following 17 residential searches.

But challenges remain.

There is the uncertainty over the legalization of recreational cannabis in October. There’s the potential of greater gang activity locally as police pressure increases elsewhere. And then there are the ongoing social problems that tap resources and make management difficult.

For example, police responded to 608 mental health related calls, resulting in 159 “apprehensions” under the Mental Health Act. (Officers must remain with individuals taken into custody under the MHA until they are released to the appropriate medical professional.)

The picture Massie painted illustrates the complexity of managing a major police jurisdiction with finite resources. The key, he said, is cementing partnerships and building stronger community relationships.

But that’s a tough thing to do when police are stretched as thinly as they are in Chilliwack.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chronic animal hoarder to be sentenced in Chilliwack court Friday

Michael Clendenning had 51 cats, rabbits and dogs seized due to serious physical and mental distress

Rude awakening: 1.6-magnitude earthquake rouses residents from their sleep

The quake was detected 3 km east-northeast of Agassiz

Chilliwack working on regional licensing to make way for ride-hailing

Two ride-hailing companies get the go-ahead to operate in Metro Vancouver and beyond

UPDATE: Will Chilliwack’s David Lee Roth impersonator be retried for sex crimes?

After mistrial declared, Crown to decide to drop charges or proceed against David Kuntz-Angel

Chilliwack Visual Artists Assocation calling for artists to display

Works will be on display at O’Connor Group Art Gallery

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Was Bigfoot just spotted on a Washington State webcam?

Sherman Pass is rougly 70 kilometres south of Grand Forks, B.C.

B.C. employer health tax wins ‘paperweight award’ for red tape

Businesses forced to estimate payroll, pay new tax quarterly

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

Most Read