Crime jumped 13 per cent on average across the West Shore during the first six months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020, according to West Shore RCMP’s biannual report.
Langford saw the largest increase in reports with 6,791, up from 6,093 – an 11 per cent increase.
The District of Highlands, however, saw the highest percentage increase of any municipality on the West Shore, with crime jumping 26 per cent, although in part because of a small sample size. Crime reports increased to 198, from 149, in Highlands.
Colwood saw a 15 per cent increase, up to 2,363 from 2,063. View Royal’s bump was 17 per cent, with the total number of crime reports at 1,765 for the first six months of 2021, versus 1,507 reports during the same six months in 2020. Metchosin had an 11 per cent increase, up to 498 from 447.
The only areas covered by the West Shore RCMP to see a decrease in crime reports were the Songhees Nation – down three per cent to 415 from 429 reports– and the Esquimalt Nation, which saw crime reports drop by 10 per cent to 35 reports from 39 in 2020.
Overall, serious or life-threatening calls – classified as either priority one or two – accounted for just over a quarter of all calls – 27 per cent – that police responded to.
The most frequent calls police received were for traffic incidents, 1,042 calls in total, representing 8.5 per cent of all calls in the first six months of 2021.
Police spent the most time responding to check well-being calls, with more than 752 hours spent attending 772 calls. The next highest was domestic in-progress calls, which required more than 497 hours of police response time to respond to 304 calls, followed by suicidal person calls with 382 hours for 362 calls, assist police/fire/ambulance with 360 hours for 466 calls and traffic incident calls – 327 hours spent attending 1,042 calls.
West Shore RCMP is looking to crack down on drug and gang crime, recently implementing a new unit – the Uniformed Gang Enforcement Team.
The unit is made up of two constables and one corporal. Police are also supporting the Inadmissible Patrons Program, introduced last summer, where gang members and those connected with gangs can be barred entry and removed from restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
West Shore RCMP is also rolling out its youth outreach team, composed of a youth counsellor and a police officer, who will be working with troubled high-risk youth.