Property crime is rising in the rural areas of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD).
Port Alberni RCMP Officer in Charge Inspector Eric Rochette brought his quarterly report for the second quarter of 2022 (April to June) to an ACRD board meeting on July 27. The report shows that number of criminal offences within the regional district was up by eight percent over the same quarter in 2021, while property crime offences were up by 37 percent.
Most of this was driven by mischief to property, or vandalism, he said. This went from 19 incidents in the second quarter of 2021 to 29 incidents in the same quarter of 2022.
Rochette said the trend does not appear to be linked to any particular location, although he said there have been some reports of people damaging gates to Mosaic Forest Management property.
“The rest is really general vandalism in different locations,” he said.
Rochette said the department is also trying to increase its presence in Bamfield as calls for service in the area are “trending upwards.” There were 59 calls for service in Bamfield and the surrounding area—which includes the nearby Huu-ay-aht First Nations community of Anacla—in the year of 2020, then 101 calls for service in 2021. So far in 2022, the department has received 77 calls for service.
Rochette says he expects the numbers to continue to rise as work begins on the Bamfield Main Road resurfacing project.
“We know for a fact there’s been an increase in calls for service,” said Rochette. “With the work on the road, I’m expecting in the future we’ll get more calls for service.”
With some provincial funding, the department has been able to conduct two seasonal policing patrols on the Bamfield Road and in Bamfield this summer, but Rochette said he is requesting funding from the province for two additional officers to help with the increased workload.
Rochette was also scheduled to present his quarterly report about crime statistics in the City of Port Alberni during a council meeting on Monday, Aug. 8.