Property crime in Cloverdale and Port Kells soared last year, with robbery up 26 per cent, car theft up 27 per cent, stolen property up 37 per cent, identity theft up 37 per cent and fraud skyrocketing by 51 per cent.
According to year-end crime statistics released by the Surrey RCMP, overall, crime in Cloverdale and Port Kells leapt by 10 per cent in 2014 when compared to 2013, as the typically quiet communities saw the second-biggest rise in violent crime out of Surrey’s five policing districts.
Only Guildford-Fleetwood experienced a bigger jump in violent crime, seeing a 12-percent increase in 2014 over 2013.Overall in Surrey, the violent crime rate went up by seven per cent.
Both arson and sexual assault were down 29 per cent in District 3, which serves Cloverdale and Port Kells – a combined area serving 76,361 residents.
John Gibeau, president of the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, isn’t too concerned about the recent statistics.
Gibeau is well-placed to comment on the numbers, as he served as a police officer for 16 years with Burnaby RCMP and the New Westminster Police. He dealt with statistics on an ongoing basis.
The spike of crimes in the community could be the result of one or two people being released from jail and wreaking havoc, he believes.
“Stats can be deceiving,” Gibeau said in an interview. “You can get one bad actor who moves into an area and distorts short-term crime stats.”
Even a snapshot of a year isn’t enough to establish an ongoing trend of crime, he said. Cloverdale has an aging demographic, he notes, which means crime over time will be dropping.
“Crime is normally perpetrated by young men, basically,” Gibeau said. “As our population ages, we have fewer crimes per thousand people.”
He recently sat in on a crime meeting at Clover Square Mall and said people there had noticed property and nuisance crimes were up.
He said street assaults might be something he’d want to watch and indicated the Cloverdale Skate Park might be becoming a trouble spot.
Gibeau also noted the police in Surrey could be doing a better job. He’d like to see Surrey RCMP come down harder and quicker on repeat offenders.
Gibeau says 80 per cent of crimes are perpetrated by 20 per cent of offenders. If the Mounties concentrated more on them, crime would drop dramatically, he believes.
“Police know who they are and the police are responsible to put them in jail,” Gibeau said.
“That crack house that opens, as soon as they know about it, go after them. Don’t wait until you have 15 crack houses and go after the most active.”
When done properly, this method displaces he criminals over and over to the point where they just give up or move out of the province, he said.
Surrey RCMP does have a prolific off ender management program that is run regionally and has paid dividends, police say.
Overall in Surrey, property crime jumped by 22 per cent and theft of motor vehicles soared by 54 per cent in 2014 as compared to 2013.