Crime in Langley isn’t out of control, but mail theft is a concern, the head of the Langley RCMP told Township council.
At the Sept. 28 meeting, Supt. Murray Power said that Langley remains in the middle of the pack when it comes to crime in the Lower Mainland.
Going by the percentages in increases or decreases isn’t always a good indicator.
For instance, Langley saw a 100 per cent increase in homicides in 2014 compared to 2013. That’s because there were two murders in 2014 compared to one in 2013.
In general, crimes against persons – assaults, sexual assaults, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder – rose eight per cent year over year, and were only two per cent higher than the five-year average in 2014.
“Is it safe to walk the streets of Langley City? Is it safe to walk the streets of Langley Township?” Power said. “The bottom line is, it is.”
Breaking down assaults, sexual assaults and other crimes show that in most cases the victims and attackers knew one another.
There do not appear to be major serial offenders at large, and Power noted arrests earlier this year or late last year in two sexual assault cases with ties to Surrey and Langley.
Property crime was up 13 per cent, Power said.
Some categories saw serious increases, including mail theft – up 90 per cent – and car theft and theft from vehicles, which rose 34 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively.
Mail theft seems to be on the decline as new, sturdier community mailboxes are installed by Canada Post, Power said.
Power said the increase in car theft seems to be a Lower Mainland-wide problem.
“They’re stealing cars to go from community to community to commit crime,” Power said.
Although car theft increased in 2014, it seems to be flat or dropping this year, as is theft from autos.
The RCMP are trying to target the offenders, rather than simply investigating each individual crime.
“That’s where intelligence is worth its weight in gold,” he said.
Police have had some successes in the past year by catching some specific people red-handed. After certain arrests, the rate of particular crimes has dropped for months, Power noted.
Councillors asked about a few specifics, including what is being done about an increase in business break ins.
Councillor Blair Whitmarsh asked where three newly-hired Mounties will be put to work in the Township.
They’ll be “boots on the ground,” said Power, helping to cover areas with increasing populations.