Port Alberni saw a “slight decrease” in crime between the months of July and September, according to the city’s top cop.
Port Alberni RCMP officer in charge Insp. Eric Rochette presented his quarterly report to city council on Monday, Dec. 12 with statistics for the months of July to September. Criminal offences were down by seven percent compared to the same quarter last year, and violent offences were also down by seven percent.
Although the third quarter of 2022 saw a decrease in the number of fraud reports, Rochette says he believes the numbers are higher, because many people are embarrassed to come forward after they have been fooled by a scam.
“Sometimes there are limited options for police,” said Rochette. “But at the same time, we want to make sure there’s education. We can meet and explain the ways you can protect yourself.”
He encourages people to call the RCMP or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501) to report if they have been the victim of a scam.
Rochette said there were four robberies between July and September, including a “violent” robbery at the King Edward Liquor Store where an employee was “sliced” in the neck with a knife. The suspect behind this robbery, Melinda Martin, has been arrested.
Rochette also took a moment on Monday to talk about the string of armed robberies that took place between the end of November and beginning of December, where the 7-Eleven store on Redford Street was hit three times. Rochette said police believe the same person was responsible for all of the robberies. A 25-year-old man, Angus Brown, was arrested and has so far been charged with one count of robbery and two counts of wearing a disguise with intent, although Rochette says there could be more charges coming.
“We do believe he’s related to all the incidents,” said Rochette.
Councillor Charles Mealey said it may put the community at ease to hear that one person was responsible for all the robberies. He added that the local 7-Eleven has lost employees because of the incidents.
“It’s just adding up for places that need their workers,” he said.
Rochette says the RCMP’s victim services program has been working with employees who were at the 7-Eleven during the robberies to ensure they get the support they need.
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