Chilliwack's top cop says the RCMP have doubled down on efforts to target high crime areas in the city since statistics released in July showed local Mounties had some of the lowest clearance rates in the province. Supt. Deanne Burleigh told the Times that the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment began pouring resources into high crime areas after Statistics Canada released their latest numbers.
"My philosophy is intelligence-led target-driven policing," she said. "As soon as we took a look at the numbers and took a look at our calls for service-where we needed to target, where our hot spots were-we put together a uniformed team for targeted downtown enforcement, looking specifically at the hot spots and our prolific offenders."
Burleigh said officers checked up on prolific offenders and those with curfews and outstanding warrants.
For the month of August, the Mounties crime reduction initiative saw officers target bicycle riders who weren't wearing a helmet.
Helmetless bike riders might not be keeping people up at night, but a missing helmet gives Mounties the right to question bike riders who seem suspiciously out of place in their surroundings.
"If you're on a bicycle at 2 a.m. in the morning in a residential area with a backpack and no real reason to be there, we want to talk to you," Burleigh said.
The strategy has had positive effects, she said.
"What we've seen as a result of our is a reduced number of calls for service," she told the Times.
Burleigh said the number of business break-andenters are down five per cent and the number of residential break-andenters are down 28 per cent from the previous year.
She also pointed to two separate drug dealing investigations in the downtown core that are leading to charges.
Burleigh said officers have also been making progress in the investigations into a spate of arsons. She said the number of arsons is down by more than a third in 2013 from the previous year, when 86 deliberately set fires were reported. None of those cases had been cleared by police as of July's statistics released, but Burleigh said the force is currently "actively investigating multiple suspects in the arson world." Burleigh has now been on the job four months since taking over as head of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment from the retiring Keith Robinson.
She said the transition has gone smoothly, with few surprises.
"I've enjoyed it; it's a nice community," she said. "The city council and the city staff have been excellent."
Supt. Deanne Burleigh says her transition to the local detachment has gone smoothly.
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