Lock up, keep property bright to deter crime

Police Chief Jon Bergen said property crime went down in 2020 compared to the previous year. He estimates this is due to people being home more often and business closing down for part of the year. (Kelly Skjerven/Daily Herald)

Police Chief Jon Bergen is stressing the importance of locking your doors and securing your valuables as the weather begins to warm up.

Bergen’s comments came after Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners, where the board learned that of the 44 vehicles stolen so far this year, 36 had been left unlocked. At least 17 had left their keys in their car.

Bergen also said that one of five break-ins to businesses so far this year involved a situation where the doors had been left unlocked overnight.

So far there has been a dip in crimes against property so far this year, with the exception of arsons. Property crime is down 22.9 er cent overall, with reductions in break and enters, theft, possession of stolen property, fraud and mischief. Violent crime is also down year-over-year, with reductions in homicides, robbery and assaults year-over-year.

Drug and weapon offences are up, however. 

Drug charges have seen an 84.62 per cent increase year over year, driven by a 128 per cent increase in trafficking charges.

So far, police have seized meth 86 times, taking 743.7 grams off the street. Police have also seized cocaine 21 times, netting 139.8 grams, and crack cocaine 16 times, seizing 275.4 grams.

Rifles, shotguns and sawed-off rifles have been the most commonly-seized weapons so far.

“We know springtime is going to be a time to clean up the community. We also know people are anxious to get out and about and enjoy the outdoors,” Bergen said.

“Everyone is looking forward to seeing the sun. That is going to bring more foot traffic, so make sure your property is secured, your vehicles are locked and secure and your property is well lit. Make sure your environment is such that it isn’t going to attract any unwanted opportunities or access for someone looking to convert your property to theirs.”

Bergen added that police will be participating in the community cleanup this spring. Officers from the community policing unit will join groups of students helping out with this year’s event.

Council approves motion lights initiative

Keeping your property well-lit to deter would-be thieves will be a little easier this year after city council introduced the motion sensor light community safety program Monday.

Members of the public will be able to purchase one solar-powered motion sensor light at a total discounted price of $25. The program will be limited to 100 lights, but could be doubled depending on uptake.

The lights are being offered for the purchase price of $50 from Canadian Tire, a 50 per cent discount on the retail price of $99.99. A $25/light rebate will be available from the city upon proof of purchase.

Applications will open in April.

  • With files from Jason Kerr