Sunshine Coast RCMP put a major dent in property crime during the second half of 2012, Staff Sgt. Herb Berdahl told the regional policing committee on Feb. 25.
“This detachment and the Sunshine Coast, we are the poster children for the Lower Mainland district right now,” Berdahl said.
Last year, he said, RCMP in the district were given a target to reduce property crime by five per cent. While few detachments managed to hit the target, the Sunshine Coast saw drops of 35 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, during the last two quarters of the year.
“It’s significant, it really is,” Berdahl said. “In fact, it’s a little embarrassing when I sit around the table with other detachment commanders, superintendents, chief superintendents and inspectors, who are all struggling with the same things that we struggle with, but are not having the impact or the effect of reducing crime in their communities as well as we have.”
Among the reasons for the drop, Berdahl cited court-ordered curfews for offenders on probation.
“You keep some of your prolifics in line. Other prolifics say ‘no thanks, don’t wanna stay here’ and then move across the pond to the Lower Mainland,” he said.
Other factors, such as foot patrols and RCMP members working with the schools, are “things you can’t put a price on, but it’s all playing a role.”
However, even one offender can reverse the trend very quickly, he added: “You can have somebody who kicks in three, four or five businesses and there goes your statistics.”
In the meantime, he said, “I’ll just bask in that glow a little bit longer.”
RCMP brass from Ottawa will visit the Coast during the week of March 17 to scope out the facilities needed to bring the Musical Ride here this season.
The two officials will meet with detachment members and representatives of community groups that are interested in sponsoring the event.
Berdahl said he expects an announcement will be made after the visit.
“It’s the federal government and they’re late telling us whether we’re going to be getting it or not,” he said. “We’re pretty optimistic it’s going to work out for us.”
Officially started in 1887, the Musical Ride is performed by a full troop of 32 riders and horses, plus a member in charge, who execute figures and cavalry drill formations choreographed to music.
The Musical Ride is scheduled to tour B.C. this summer.
Band lands used as bypass
Some motorists driving through Sechelt are avoiding traffic lights on Highway 101 by cutting through Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) lands — and it’s becoming a real safety concern, school trustee Lori Dixon told the transportation advisory committee on Feb. 25.
“A lot of people are taking short-cuts to circumvent the lights and they’re using Band land to do it,” Dixon said. “It’s mayhem out there.”
With children playing on the streets while cars and big trucks detour through the community, serious safety concerns are mounting, she warned.
Const. Todd Bozak of Sunshine Coast RCMP Traffic Services, who was present at the meeting, took note of the complaint.
Almost 30 per cent of drivers on Highway 101 in Wilson Creek were speeding during a January deployment by Sunshine Coast Speed Watch.
Of 351 vehicles checked, 102 were travelling at least 11 km/h over the posted 60 km/h limit, the volunteer group reported.
The low level of compliance means Speed Watch will return to collect more data, coordinator Jon Hird told the transportation advisory committee.
The January numbers also saw a sharp contrast between compliance levels on South Fletcher Road in Gibsons, depending on whether Speed Watch was using a marked or unmarked vehicle.
The unmarked vehicle clocked more than 31 per cent of drivers speeding in the 30 km/h zone, compared to one per cent detected by the marked vehicle.
Hird said unmarked deployments are useful to collect “untainted data.”