Coquitlam RCMP are called to səmiq̓wəʔelə/Riverview Lands five to six times a day to find patients missing from the Red Fish Healing Centre.
And each response typically takes between 25 and 50 hours to locate the person, return them safely and type up the paperwork, council heard on Monday as the detachment’s superintendent reported on their spring activities.
On Monday (Oct. 24), in his second trimester (T2) presentation of crime statistics, Officer-in-Charge Keith Bramhill told council-in-committee that calls for mental health services jumped 40 per cent over the three-year T2 average, with 600 requests for assistance between April and June.
Many of those calls came from the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, a 105-bed facility that opened last October to replace the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.
Bramhill said the RCMP has a “good relationship” with the provincial officials at Red Fish, and 90 per cent of the missing patients are brought back to the facility.
In the community, many calls for mental health help were related to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
Police in Coquitlam are also at hospitals longer with people with mental health challenges — up 10 per cent in the past T2 for wait times longer than two hours.
Bramhill said the detachment is working with Fraser Health to provide a Car 67-type mobile crisis response unit that would pair a police officer with a nurse to help people with mental health challenges and provide them with referrals to appropriate services.
But he noted, with the healthcare system stretched, Coquitlam is still waiting for support.
Besides the uptick in mental health calls, RCMP in Coquitlam also dealt with more persons and property crimes this spring, Bramhill said.
Persons crimes shot up by 15 per cent — mostly due to a rise in assaults (up 8 per cent) — while property offences went up by five per cent.
To counter the wave in fraud (up 18 per cent), Coquitlam RCMP are setting up an “exchange zone” in front of the Guildford Way detachment for better security with online shopping meet-ups.
Another new initiative is a Crime Free Multi-Housing Program that’s designed to prevent theft and property crime; it’s set to launch later this year or early next year, he said.
As well, a new community policing office will open at Burquitlam Plaza in January as part of a major area update that includes the Burquitlam YMCA.
As for pounding the beat, Mounties conducted 450 foot patrols in Coquitlam during the spring, with the aim to increase police visibility — especially in the City Centre neighbourhood, where there has been gang activity.