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Crime down in Port Coquitlam this year except shoplifting, fraud

Mounties took 35 per cent more calls about shoplifting in Port Coquitlam, while fraud files rose 31 per cent “likely due to the cost-of-living crisis,” RCMP OIC Darren Carr recently told the city.
Shoplifting was up in Port Coquitlam in the first quarter of 2024, Jan. 1 to March 31.

Port Coquitlam had a “fantastic” start to 2024 with police calls down in nearly every area — except shoplifting and fraud.

Last week, newly hired Supt. Darren Carr of the Coquitlam RCMP told PoCo’s committee of council that he’s pleased with the dip in calls for service in the first quarter, January to March, compared with the three-year Q1 average:

  • person crimes (assaults, robberies, sex offences)
    • decrease of 23 per cent
  • property crimes (theft of vehicle, theft from vehicle, break-ins)
    • decrease of 13 per cent
  • mental health-related police files
    • decrease of seven per cent

Still, on the shoplifting front, police took 35 per cent more calls while fraud files rose 31 per cent “likely due to the cost-of-living crisis we are in,” Carr told civic politicians on May 7, advising businesses to call the detachment’s Crime Reduction Team to report offences and get help to prevent loss.

Carr said toxic drug abuse is also increasing and “simple property crime is how [users] fund it.”

Also up for the first quarter are traffic violation tickets in PoCo:

  • speed-related infractions
    • 71 per cent more
  • seatbelt infractions
    • 129 per cent more
  • intersection infractions
    • 105 per cent more

Carr said the tickets are a result of hundreds of hours of traffic enforcement in PoCo over the three months, specifically along key corridors like the Mary Hill Bypass and Lougheed Highway.

As for the drop in mental health-related calls, Carr attributed the "downward trend" to the introduction of the detachment’s Mobile Integrated Crisis Response (MICR) team last November, which pairs psychiatric nurses with police officers 10 hours a day and seven days a week.

“Anecdotally, it looks like it’s making a significant difference,” he said of the program.

Hospital wait times of more than two hours also dropped 19 per cent over the period. 

“It’s good to see the numbers down,” Coun. Nancy McCurrach told Carr at the meeting, but noted theft of catalytic converters continues to rise.

Mayor Brad West also acknowledged the city’s bylaw officers who are on the streets to crackdown on civic violations.

“It really is an endeavour that everyone plays into,” he said, adding long-time PoCo residents are telling him that the city seems safer now than in the past.

During the first quarter of 2024, there were nearly 2,922 recorded police activities in PoCo, accounting for about 28.5 per cent of the total policing activities for the detachment’s catchment, which also covers Coquitlam, Anmore, Belcarra and kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation.