Langley’s top Mountie called on council to hire 15 new RCMP officers, at a cost of $2.4 million, to keep up with rapid population growth.
“Our numbers are getting to a concerning level for me,” Supt. Murray Power told Langley Township councillors during a regular update on the state of crime and community safety during Monday afternoon’s council meeting.
Power said that when he took command of the Langley RCMP detachment in 2014, the ratio of population to RCMP members, or “pop to cop” as he called it, stood at about 800 residents per officer.
The ratio is now over 900 people per officer.
Langley Township had the fastest rate of growth of any municipality in Metro Vancouver in the 2016 Canadian Census. Between 2011 and 2016, the Township grew at a rate of 12.6 per cent, compared to 6.6 per cent for the Lower Mainland as a whole.
Power highlighted the rate of growth with an aerial photo of a block of townhouses and condos in the Willoughby area. That one block has about 800 people in it, Power said, which means another officer is required at the detachment just to keep up with the growth represented by one city block.
The Langley detachment covers Langley City as well, which has grown at a much slower pace.
Power said the ratio seems to be having an effect already. The clearance rate of property crimes – the number in which a suspect is identified – has been trending downward over time.
“Which means we’re probably catching fewer people than we should,” he said.
The Township has just started budget talks for the 2020 municipal budget.
A request for 15 new officers would amount to a $2.4 million additional cost, at an approximate cost of $160,000 per officer.
Langley City and Township jointly fund the Langley RCMP, with the smaller City paying a smaller percentage of the cost.