Is crime on an upswing or on a decline in Langley?
Supt. Derek Cooke, the officer in charge of Langley RCMP, delivered good and bad news in his quarterly report to Township council on Jan. 31.
The good news is that offences in Langley dropped in five out of nine crime categories: break-ins at houses and other buildings, drug offences and fraud. Assault cases plunged by 17 per cent.
The bad is that in comparing statistics from October to December in 2009 to the same months in 2010, robberies, and theft of and from autos, all rose. Break-ins at businesses climbed 18 per cent.
Speaking on crime in the Township, Cooke said that break-ins in all building classes, in theft of and from vehicles, and drug offences, all increased.
Fraud and robbery were down three per cent and 10 per cent respectively, while violent crime (assaults) plunged 19 per cent.
As a result of an increase in property crimes in West Abbotsford and the East Langley areas of Aldergrove and Gloucester industrial estates, the Langley detachment has teamed with the Abbotsford City Police Department. Working around the clock in teams of two, eight officers target high-risk areas and keep a close watch on known offenders.
Cooke was asked to comment on the impact of tougher drinking and driving rules which the government introduced on Sept. 20 last year.
There were 113 immediate road-side suspensions between Sept. 20, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2010, compared to 16 for the same period the year before.
Noting that the intent of the legislation is for long-term reduction in violations, Cooke said that the legislation is not very effective in reducing recidivism.
Responding to suggestions that the penalties are very harsh, Cooke said, “I would certainly argue that this is not the case.”
He applauded the success of the detachment’s traffic section in reducing the death toll on Langley rolls, from 16 in 2008 to seven in 2009 and five last year. For its efforts, the section was awarded the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Award late last year.
The crackdown’s success is evident in the figures. Last year, Langley traffic police issued 15,000 tickets, an increase of eight per cent over 2009.