Crime rates fell in Princeton in 2022, nearly across the board, for the third consecutive year.
RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes told the Spotlight while that’s a positive trend “of course we’d like to see all these numbers at zero. But there it is, and that’s the world we live in.
“In a perfect world we wouldn’t need police and in a healthy world we wouldn’t need doctors.”
Crime statistics for the Okanagan Similkameen region were presented at a meeting of the regional district board last week.
Hughes added that police efforts were supported last year as the detachment – which covers one of the largest geographic service areas in B.C. – had a full complement, plus one, for much of the time.
“That has a positive impact.”
Full complement in Princeton is one sergeant, one corporal and five constables.
He also noted that during 2022 some ordinarily high-file count individuals were incarcerated, and others of the same description left the area.
Overall, in Princeton violent crime dropped 6 per cent, from 132 files to 124, a number that captures 63 assaults including assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.
Hughes said in most of these cases the victims and perpetrators and known to each other.
“Nobody is walking through Princeton on Bridge Street at 3 a.m. and getting beat with a baseball bat…Violent crime is usually a certain group of people who are vulnerable.”
There were 10 sex crimes were reported last year, compared to 9 in 2021 and 12 in 2020.
It’s important to look at individual files making up the total, Hughes added.
For example, a sex crime is categorized as any incident that has a sexual component, which could be interviewing a local witness for another service, or for incidents involving young people sharing inappropriate texts or photos.
Sex offenses are “horrifically disturbing,” Hughes added.
Overall, property crime is up slightly from last year, with 216 compared to 207, however down from 2020 when there were 233.
“There are people who think they have to steal, and people who want to steal,” said Hughes.
“The unfortunate equation is that things get stolen.”
Thefts from vehicles were up, along with bicycle theft – counted at 46 and 9 respectively – and those are mostly occurring in the Manning Park area, he said.
Fraud numbers are static, at 22, and most of these incidents are individuals scammed out of money either over the phone or online.
Hughes urged the public to never give out personal information.
“Ir anyone, regardless of how old you are, if you are eight or 80, and somebody says ‘hey I need to verify your info, or you’ve won $10,000 or a long-lost relative has left you a million dollars, get their number and then call us. If it’s legit they will call you back.”
Auto theft was down, from 22 to 16.
Hughes said in most cases police locate a vehicle before it is reported stolen, as it’s crashed or been abandoned, and presently only two vehicles reported stolen in 2022 – both trailers – are still unaccounted for.
In total, calls for police service dropped from 2,259 to 2210 last year with traffic incidents, motor vehicle incidents and requests for wellness checks being the top three requests.
There were also 86 abandoned 911 calls that required investigation.
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