First, the good news: Crime is down in Abbotsford.
According to Abbotsford police, “overall property crime is down more than 5 per cent” from the start of the year up until May 21, compared to the same period in 2016.
“Great news,” APD Const. Ian MacDonald said Thursday morning.
“At least some of it is down to technology,” he said, pointing out that many people now have video camera systems and other deterrents for their home. In the past, such technology was much more expensive but with the overall decrease in cost seen in recent years is no longer out of reach for home owners.
Despite the overall decline, there was one particular crime which saw an increase during the pre-May 21 period this year versus 2016: Theft from auto.
“Normally we’d see theft from auto and theft of auto increase in lock-step,” MacDonald explained. The logic is easy: A thief steals a car, then walks away with valuables afterwards.
In 2017, theft of auto is down but theft from auto is up eight per cent over last year. This number is powered by a spike in April and May this year: There were 207 reports of theft from auto in April — the worst monthly total over the past year — and in the first three weeks of May there were 182 reports, MacDonald said, a 48-per-cent increase over the same period in 2016.
Most vehicles now have built-in immobilizers and other security features, making theft of cars and trucks very difficult, he pointed out.
“We’re seeing the crimes of opportunity,” MacDonald said; the cars aren’t being stolen, but items from inside cars still are.
“Don’t forget to lock your car doors,” is MacDonald’s message.
CRIME DOWN IN SURREY
In comparison, crime is down in Surrey.
According to stats from Surrey RCMP, every category saw a decrease in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 2016.
Most categories have big decreases, though there were six more sexual offences during 2017’s first quarter than 2016’s.
Unlike in Abbotsford, theft from vehicles is down six per cent (1997 offences in 2017, 2120 last year) but thefts of motor vehicles is up one per cent, as there have been five more thefts this year versus last.
Two other categories have seen an increase: Breaking-and-entering of businesses are up 21 per cent (328 this year, 272 last) and fraud is up eight per cent (836 cases in 2017’s first quarter, 776 a year ago.)
AUTO THEFTS UP IN VANCOUVER
Like the rest of the region, overall crime in Vancouver is down. But like Surrey, auto theft is up in the city. There were 439 thefts of a motor vehicle during the first four months of the year, a 3.8-per-cent increase over the first four months of 2016.
Crime in Vancouver as a whole is down 11.8 per cent, though a clear crackdown on possession of stolen property in the Downtown Eastside has charges for possession of stolen property up 51.6 per cent.
Other areas of increase are charges for mischief (1,356 by the end of April, up five per cent from 2016) and offensive weapons (163 charges, 15.6 per cent more than 2016).
There were nine homicides in 2017’s first four months in Vancouver, compared to three during the same period in 2016.
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