Property crime in Langley City took a “significant” drop in the first three months of the year, an RCMP report shows, but the number of mail theft incidents more than doubled during the same period.
Figures from the quarterly report were presented to Langley City Council by Insp. Mike Bhatti, acting superintendent and officer in charge of the Langley RCMP detachment at the Monday, April 26, virtual meeting of Langley City Council.
From Jan. 1 to March 30, there were 538 property offences recorded by officers at the detachment, down from 661 for the same period the previous year, something Bhatti described as a “significant drop” and part of a larger pattern in the lower mainland.
“Most of the property crime is trending down,” Bhatti told council.
Mail theft offences, however, are “spiking up,” Bhatti commented, rising from 15 during the first three months of 2020 to 36 in 2021, an increase of 140 per cent.
Bhatti suggested the arrival of COVID-related cheques and rebates may be part of the reason.
RCMP will be discussing measures to combat the problem with the City Crime Prevention Task Group.
There was no substantial change in the rate of “person related” crimes, such as assault and robbery, the report found.
Bhatti also reported seven Langley RCMP officers have tested positive for COVID-19 to date.
In response to a question by Coun. Rudy Storteboom, Bhatti was unable to say how many members have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, citing privacy concerns.
Another COVID-related issue has been a “reduction of officers” graduating from training that has forced the Langley detachment to shift members from some specialized units to maintain frontline policing.
The RCMP Academy was closed for several months and once training resumed, the numbers were down to allow for social distancing, the Bhatti report explained.
“In order to enhance our front line service delivery, we had to reallocate resources from specialized units,” the report explained.
“This ensures our front line is fully staffed and prepared to respond to any emerging scenario.”
As well, “the imminent conversion of Surrey RCMP to Surrey Police Service has also factored into our staffing levels.”
“Very few officers are being released from Surrey in advance of the transition, which has a snowball effect around the Lower Mainland.”
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