Local police statistics are showing a downward trend in crime.
Criminal offences dropped from 7,850 in 2010 to 6,801 in 2011, according to the 2011 Ridge Meadows RCMP annual report: Partners in Policing.
Crime rates are on a “slight downward trend in property crime, but crimes against people and other criminal code offences have remained stable,” said Ridge Meadows RCMP Supt. Dave Walsh.
The national crime rate in 2011 was at its lowest level in 39 years according to police reported data compiled by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Trends across the province and nation have also decreased, figures released Tuesday by Statistics Canada show.
The number of actual recordable incidents in B.C. in 2011 was 418,394, down 5.45 per cent from the year before. The number for Canada was 2,277,258, down 5.29 from 2010.
“I think there have been consistent downward trends for the past several years across the country. Maple Ridge is no different. Pitt Meadows has seen a slightly lower drop but this may be in part due to the opening of the new Golden Ears Bridge and the new Pitt River Bridge which has increased traffic flow and accessibility,” Walsh explained.
The downward trend is likely a blend of several factors, he said, including changing demographics, aging population, and consistent and proactive crime reduction strategies.
Walsh said that there were a couple of things to keep in mind when reviewing statistics on crime rates: they do not capture non-crime related police work.
“The reality is that more than 70 per cent of police work is not related to criminal offences but rather it is dealing with social issues,” Walsh said.
Also, Walsh cited that statistics “don’t include important aspects of front line police work because they do not include traffic or drug offences.”
“Traffic safety and drug crime are detachment priority areas, so our officers spend a lot of time on prevention, education, and enforcement activities.”
Walsh said that statistics collect data from the “most serious offence” scoring method. “For example, if a suspect breaks into 10 vehicles in an underground parking garage at a condo complex, steals one car, is pulled over for impaired driving, and found to be breaching a driving prohibition, and in possession of drugs, weapons, and stolen property, justice ministry stats will only capture a single offence.”