Shutterstock photo

Port Alberni RCMP warn against vigilantism

‘They were yelling and screaming. They were positive I was the one.’

Port Alberni RCMP are warning against vigilantism in response to a recent rise in property crime.

READ: Break and enters on the rise in Port Alberni

Officer in charge Inspector Brian Hunter was in council chambers on Monday, Jan. 22 to present his end-of-the-year report for 2017.

Although violent crime went down in 2017, property crime—which includes thefts, break and enters and mischief to property—went up 8.6 percent for the year.

“Interestingly enough, the first four months of 2017, property crime was actually down 10 percent,” said Hunter. “We were doing really well.”

From May to December, however, property crime saw a spike of 17 percent. The Port Alberni detachment is still analyzing why this spike may have occurred.

Hunter said that community members can help the RCMP by calling and reporting any suspicious activity.

Ealier this month, a business owner in the community noticed a pair of suspicious individuals in their store and was able to take photos of the individuals, as well as their vehicle.

“Unbeknownst to the business owner, they were actually helping us solve crimes that hadn’t even happened yet,” said Hunter.

As a direct result of the business owner’s assistance, persons of interest have been identified in relation to a spree of overnight auto thefts.

But Hunter also cautioned against people taking matters into their own hands, after a case of mistaken identity led to an innocent person being assaulted last week.

“We do not need to get into vigilantism,” he said.

Last weekend, a property crime victim was posting surveillance photos of two individuals on Facebook and asking the community to identify them. They received a name, and proceeded to go to this person’s house. The name turned out to be incorrect.

The incorrectly accused individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the AV News that a group of people came to his door on Sunday.

“They were yelling and screaming,” he recalled. “They started pushing me. They were positive that I was the one.”

The original break-and-enter victim has now been arrested and is facing charges of assault and uttering threats. The incorrectly accused man received a number of injuries from the altercation, and is now unable to return to work.

“There’s no working in my current situation,” he said. “I can barely walk.”

He added that he has been psychologically affected by the attack.

“I was in extreme shock,” he said. “I’m still suffering. Not just physically.”

The attack came about because a surveillance video had been passed around on Facebook. He said a face was not clearly visible in the shot, yet he was incorrectly identified.

The assault victim said he will soon be leaving to spend some time away from the community.

“It isn’t very good on the image of the community when you have members of the community acting like idiots and bullies,” he said.

Hunter pointed out that Port Alberni has a strong social network. “What I do want is for the community to get engaged, share information with the police, and then let us do the policing,” he said.

In the meantime, the Citizens on Patrol and the Community Policing Office are developing a foot patrol program for the Uptown area. More information is available at the Community Policing Office, located at the Harbour Quay (#9 – 5440 Argyle Street).

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Alberni Valley Transition Town talks green planning

March 20 talk features Jack Anderson, speaking of innovative building techniques

Port Alberni’s firefighters learn to save themselves in ground survival training

Specialized training equipment brought in for Ground Survival Program

Port Alberni RCMP have their eyes on impaired drivers

March 17 to 23 is National Impaired Driving Prevention Week

Premier on hand as Paper Excellence finalizes Catalyst Paper purchase

Sale includes Crofton mill, plus mills in Port Alberni and Powell River

Three people deemed heroes after rescuing another in fiery crash on B.C. highway

Two people taken to hospital following head-on collision near Port Alberni

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Cougar on Island might have been shot with bow-and-arrow

Conservation officer service looking for animal near Port Alice

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read