Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky. ~ Revelstoke Review file photo

Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky. ~ Revelstoke Review file photo

Revelstoke crime rate stays steady

Crime rate in Revelstoke sees little change since 2014 according to latest statistics

Revelstoke’s crime ready held fairly steady for the third year in a row in 2016 and is slightly higher than the provincial average according to the latest crime statistics released by Statistics Canada last week.

Revelstoke had a crime rate of 8,765.6 incidents per 100,000 people in 2016, 2.27 per cent below 2015 and an almost identical rate to 2014.

“It just shows we’re doing the same consistent work and the RCMP is consistently dealing with the same type of work in the area,” said Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky of the Revelstoke RCMP.

For B.C., the crime rate was 8,674.5 per 100,000 people, down one per cent from the year before.

The crime severity rate was also down in Revelstoke, 62.79 in 2016, compared to 67.25 in 2015. It is below the B.C. rate of 93.63.

There was 632 recorded criminal incidents last year, compared to 643 the year before and 622 in 2014.

Out of 632 incidents, 321 were cleared and 115 incidents led to charges being laid.

The data is for city boundaries only and doesn’t include incidents in the rural Revelstoke area.

Grabinsky said that even if the number of criminal incidents isn’t changing, officers are responding to more calls. Most Motor Vehicle Act violations don’t get counted in the numbers, and neither do missing persons or search & rescue responses, he said, as examples.

“We don’t just deal with things being dealt with by Statistics Canada. As of July 12, we’re up 185 files from the previous year,” he said. “We’re not changing our scoring methods of our file count methods.”

The Revelstoke RCMP hired an additional general duty member last year and is hiring an investigative officer this year. Grabinsky has also asked the city to consider budgeting to hire a sergeant for the detachment.

There wasn’t that much noteworthy in the statistics for this year, but I did notice a few areas where there was a noticeable change in the numbers and asked Grabinsky for his thoughts:

— Incidents of fraud are up substantially over the past two years, with 34 recorded in 2016 compared to 28 last year and only 11 in 2014. “We’re seeing travelling bands of fraud artists frequently coming into Revelstoke,” said Grabinsky. “A lot of this is reflected by the Internet and people have greater means to do fraudulent activity.”

— Police reported far fewer incidents of disturbing the peace — 95 in 2016 compared to 132 in 2015. Grabinsky said this is a result of the City of Revelstoke passing its the public nuisance bylaw in 2015. “We can utilize that. It becomes revenue for the city rather than going to the province,” he said. “We can try and capture it in the most realistic manner. We should do it at lowest level and not be going to a criminal code violation right away.”

— A few years ago, I reported on the rate of marijuana arrests in Revelstoke, which were the highest in B.C. Since then, the number of marijuana violations has fallen by more than half — to 65 in 2016 from 145 in 2013. This isn’t a result of the impending legalization of marijuana, said Grabinsky, and there hasn’t been a policy change at the detachment. “Sometimes when you do enforcement, after a while, you see results,” he said. “People may continue to be abusing illegal substances, however they may not be doing it in a way that attracts the police’s attention.”

— Police laid more criminal charges for impaired driving last year — 30 compared to 20 in 2015. Grabinsky said this could be a result of a crack down several years ago that led to a decline in numbers that are now on the rise again. “I think impaired driving is on the rise and we’re going to be working diligently this winter to decrease that,” he said.