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Abbotsford Police identify priorities for 2014

Road safety, property crime and domestic violence have been identified as the Abbotsford Police Department’s (APD) top priorities for the year.

The department has released its 2014 strategic plan, which lays out the crucial areas of concern and sets goals for improvement.

Police Chief Bob Rich said the top priority continues to be road safety – the same as it was in 2013.

Although the APD saw a drop in traffic-related fatalities from nine in 2012 to four last year, the number of crashes resulting in injury did not drop during that same period, with 504 and 517 in those two years, respectively.

This year, the APD is aiming for a 10 per cent reduction in injury collisions, and is making some changes that include having more patrol officers, in addition to traffic officers, handing out tickets.

Rich said the APD hopes that some innovative public education initiatives will help spread the message that drivers need to take more care on the roads.

Property crime is second on the list of priorities in the strategic plan, with the APD setting a goal this year to reduce such crimes by 10 per cent.

Rich said that in 2013, the APD recorded an 18 per cent drop in residential break-ins and a 23 per cent reduction in robberies, but business break-ins were up 26 per cent.

He said the department is looking at developing a more sustainable program to monitor problem residences and wants to increase its ability to manage prolific and priority offenders.

As well, two officers from the gang suppression unit – which has made great strides in reducing gang violence in the city – will be moved to the crime reduction unit.

Third on the list of priorities is domestic violence, which Rich acknowledged is a difficult issue to tackle.

“But it’s a very serious matter so we intend to keep pressing forward on that,” he said.

Rich said a key factor in this issue is educating children about respectful relationships. To that end, the APD plans to hold some presentations in local high schools.

The department is also planning to hire two new detectives for its domestic violence unit, which was formed in January 2010.

Other goals in the strategic plan include:

• suppressing gang crime through initiatives such as targeting gang-controlled grow-ops; and

• implementing a “more efficient policing model,” including maximizing the time spent on “intelligence-led policing projects.”

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