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‘It’s a safe community’: Salmon Arm RCMP emphasize crime stats show citizens not in danger

Property crimes rise in first three months of 2023 while break and enters remain relatively low
Property crimes in Salmon Arm have risen in the first three months of 2023 over the same period in 2022, reports Staff Sgt. Scott West, although break and enters remain static and relatively low. (Black Press Media file photo)

Salmon Arm is a safe community.

Staff Sgt. Scott West stressed that message when he provided his quarterly report to city council recently.

He was referring to statistics such as residential break and enters, which he included in graphs also featuring numbers from the past two years. He said the highest number of residential break and enters in one month over that two-year period was eight, with the median number from one to three.

The numbers translated into a rate of 0.05 per 1,000 in a month, he said, with a similar statistic for violent crimes.

“What are the chances I’m going to get victimized – 0.05 per 1,000 instances in any given month. When you look at how many households, I would say it’s a safe community.”

He said the number of break and enters spiked in July 2022, which was a direct result of the actions of one or two individuals. He added that officers have laid three charges in break and enter investigations recently and continue to work on others.

The statistics West provided for the first three months of 2023 showed Salmon Arm RCMP responding to 1,723 calls for service, 1,254 of them within the city, with the remainder from the wider area.

In terms of ‘persons’ offences in the city, there were 33 assaults, up from 28 for that period in 2022. Sexual offences were down from seven in the same period in 2022 to five in 2023. Total persons offences in the city were 59 in the first three months of 2023, down slightly from 61 in the same period in 2022.

Total property crimes in the city spiked in the first quarter 0f 2023 over the same period in 2022, at 203 for 2023, an increase from 154 in 2022. Auto thefts went up from eight to 12, while thefts from vehicles doubled from 15 to 30. West pointed out that in terms of thefts from vehicles, some residents are still leaving their vehicles unlocked, which makes an easy target for thieves.

West said the location of property crime may have shifted somewhat and “that is something that I as a Detachment Commander am watching so that our efforts can be focused in particularly problematic areas.”

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The number of ‘mental health related calls’ that Salmon Arm RCMP responded to in the city doubled to 161 in the first quarter of 2023 from 81 for the same period in 2022. Domestic violence calls rose from four to 10.

Regarding the jump in mental health calls, West said “everybody’s stressed out.” He pointed to the rising costs in food and many other things.

“People earning average incomes in Salmon Arm are stressed out, trying to find ways to stretch dollars further.”

He said it’s something his officers are aware of, so they try to deal with everyone with respect, “give them an extra five minutes.”

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond thanked police for attending such calls and trying to let people know the city is safe. She said she’s aware of some stressful community-related situations.

“You’re right, it’s a safe community but we do go through cycles.”

Regarding traffic enforcement, West said there were 129 documented traffic stops in the quarter.

Twenty-five collisions with damage over $10,000 or injuries were reported in Salmon Arm, part of a total of 45 collisions during the first quarter. That compared to 32 in the first quarter of 2022. West noted it was a pretty rough winter for road conditions.

The total number of Criminal Code offences in the first quarter was 358 for 2023, a rise from 309 in 2022.

West said the detachment has also been working with regional libraries and community organizations regarding fraud scams that target citizens.

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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