The crime rate in Princeton fell in 2020, according to a year-end statistical report recently presented to the regional district board.
RCMP received 2,214 calls for service last year, compared to 2,314 in 2019, representing a decrease of four per cent.
While the overall number of files was down, violent crime including assault and sex offenses were up nine per cent in 2020, climbing from 138 to 151.
Detachment commander Sgt. Rob Hughes said that percentage does not necessarily “reflect the actual current climate.”
While there were 14 recorded sex offenses last year, compared to six in 2019, Hughes said that number is impacted by a couple of factors.
Several of the incidents investigated involve historic sex crimes, he explained.
“It’s become more and more accepted for people to talk about things that have happened to them,” he said.
As well, police now categorize all crimes with a sex component as sexual offenses, including pornography and the sharing of intimate photos.
Local RCMP receive tips from Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit, that are regularly flagged by various websites.
This could include but is not limited to: the possession, distribution, importation and manufacturing of any child pornography and any computer-related child sexual abuse materials; luring children over the Internet; and voyeurism involving victims under the age of 18.
“We’ve got a few of those,” said Hughes.
Domestic violence incidents decreased 14 per cent from the previous year, from 29 to 25.
Overall property crime was down 11 per cent in 2020, with break and enters, theft, shoplifting and thefts from vehicles all seeing reductions.
Auto theft was up 73 per cent, from 11 to 19, which Hughes attributed to a rash of thefts in the summer, operated by several people from out of town.
Bicycle theft was also up by 80 per cent, from five reports to nine. Hughes said all but two of the bikes reported stolen last year were left unattended and unlocked.
“We don’t want to victim blame, but people really need to lock up their stuff,” he said.
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