Crime stats in Delta remained largely unchanged during the first quarter of the year as compared to the same period in 2018, though there was a notable increase in the number of thefts from auto.
Statistics released by the Delta Police Department Tuesday morning show there were 202 thefts from auto in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 157 during the first quarter of 2018. The year before, however, there were 241.
“This type of crime tends to be more cyclical,” says Supt. Harj Sidhu, head of operations for the Delta Police Department, said in press release. “During the first quarter we saw increases in the thefts of catalytic converters. That’s eased and now with the rise in gasoline prices we’re seeing a rise in theft of fuel, particularly from commercial premises.
“As for the public, the best step they can take is to remove all personal property from vehicles. If it’s not in your car, it can’t be stolen. Failing that, we advise people to at a minimum ensure any property is left in your trunk or out of sight.”
Prior to analyzing its 2019 first-quarter statistics, the department had to adjust the numbers from 2018 to reflect new rules from Statistics Canada that require police agencies report offences that were previously categorized as unfounded, according to a DPD press release. The updated statistics now include offences where there is no credible evidence to confirm the incident did not take place. Formerly, these offences were not included in the DPD’s crime stats.
By retroactively applying this same rule to all 2018 crime stats and to key three year indicators, the release says, the department has a more accurate picture of local crime trends.
The number of traffic collisions were slightly higher than this time last year, 308 compared to 298 in 2018, with numbers peaking in February when the region experienced a few weeks of wintery weather. Meanwhile, the number of violation tickets handed out was virtually identical, 2,965 this year versus 2,959 last year.
Persons offences, which include crimes such as assault or sexual assault, arson and robbery, increased to 218, up from 200 during the same time period last year.
“The majority of assaults that were reported to police involve individuals known to each other, and include domestic assaults,” Sidhu said, noting the category also includes incidences such as road rage and assaults on medical professionals or loss prevention officers.
“We’re not seeing any patterns that would alert us to any public safety concerns” Sidhu said of the increase. “For example, we’re not seeing an increase in stranger assaults. And gang related violence remains uncommon here in Delta.”
Sidhu said supervisors meets on a weekly basis to review stats and determine actions, while management meet monthly to discuss appropriate strategies to tackle emerging issues.
The release notes the uptick in youth violence that Delta and other police forces across Metro Vancouver saw in 2018 has continued into 2019, saying Delta police are addressing the issue by increasing youth preventative programming, such as the department’s three-on-three basketball tournament, youth leadership and youth volunteering, while also continuing outreach to ensure any youth conflicts don’t become bigger and maintaining an active school liaison program.
Residential/other break-and-enters remained virtually unchanged from the first quarter of 2018, with 54 files compared to 51 last year. Of those 54 break-and-enters, 43 were to residences.
(The category, previously called residential break-and-enters, has been renamed to better reflect that the stats include break-ins to buildings such as sheds, storage containers and underground parking storage units.)
The number of commercial break-and-enters did increase however, with 44 files during the first quarter of 2019 compared to 34 in 2018. According to the press release, there has been an increase in incidents such as thefts of and from tractor trailers, since fall 2018, particularly from businesses on Annacis Island and along the river near Tilbury.
Police have responded to these thefts with increased patrols and outreach to businesses to encourage them to take greater security precautions. “Additional investigative strategies are also being pursued,” the release adds.
The DPD is encouraging businesses and residents that have security cameras to register for the department’s security watch program at deltapolice.ca/cwp. The program creates a database which helps police know who might have video footage that could help solve a crime.
Past DPD quarterly crime stats are available online at deltapolice.ca/stats, along with a link to the department’s online crime mapping system.