Ninety-four arrests in Fraser Valley property crime blitz

Three-month-long 'Project Valley Sweep' credited for drop in thefts of vehicles and thefts from vehicles.

Police say task force makes dent in property crime numbers.

Fraser Valley police forces say a summer-long focus on targeting those known to commit property crimes in the region has resulted in a decline in such offences.

In May, the Abbotsford Police Department and the Chilliwack and Mission RCMP teamed up to create a joint seven-member team dedicated to reducing property crime.

By the end of June, statistics showed a two-per-cent reduction in property crime throughout the communities, along with a nine-per-cent drop in thefts of vehicles, thefts from vehicles and break-and-enters.

The initiative, dubbed Project Valley Sweep, ran from May 1 to July 30 and saw police contact 582 men and women during street, vehicle and curfew compliance checks.

Those contacts led to 94 arrests and a total of 91 charges laid against 54 different people. Charges ranged from breaching court-ordered conditions to drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The project was in response to rising property crime statistics across the three communities that saw the number of stolen vehicles, thefts from vehicles and break and enters all rise by more than 20 per cent in 2015.

The initiative also saw officers offer outreach programs to 33 people. However, only four of those were receptive to such offers and only one person followed through. Still, APD Const. Ian MacDonald said that isn’t necessarily surprising, given the drastic life changes being suggested and the fact that it’s generally accepted that it often takes several offers of help before someone decides to make a change.

“It’s important the offers were made,” he said. “Hopefully when people are ready, we’ll be here.”