Port Coquitlam's UCRU a new crime-fighting tool

Four-member team of Coquitlam RCMP officers will be focusing on crime hot spots in PoCo.

Port Coquitlam's Uniformed Crime Reduction Unit (UCRU) has hit the streets to shine a light on the city's hotspots.

The four-member team will increase police visibility in the downtown core and throughout parks and trails, and will assist general duty Mounties in PoCo when they're busiest.

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PoCo's city council approved funding for the additional officers earlier this year, part of several new measures that led to a nearly 3.5% property tax increase.

According to Coquitlam RCMP, the team has already made a dent in an ongoing PoCo headache — a problem residence in the 1500-block of Grant Avenue.

In late September, local Mounties and members of the Emergency Response Team raided a home on that block to make a high-risk arrest. Eight people were found in the home and taken into custody for questioning. Drugs and stolen property were also found inside, although no charges have been laid.

The UCRU team worked with the city of PoCo to issue a "do not occupy" order on the home.

"Grant Avenue is a great example of what Port Coquitlam residents can expect from UCRU," said Cpl. Michelle Luca, PoCo's UCRU team leader. "We are listening to the community, focusing on problems and following through with solutions."

A PoCo resident raising a family in the city, Luca said she's looking forward to making a difference.

"Port Coquitlam is a tight-knit community filled with people who love their city and want nothing more than to keep it safe."

Coquitlam's own UCRU team was formed with six officers in September 2015; it now has 12, adding nearly $2 million to that city's annual budget. The unit patrols high-crime areas identified by call statistics, along with foot patrols in areas like Town Centre around the Evergreen Extension stations.

Supt. Sean Maloney, head of the Coquitlam RCMP, said high-visibility policing is a key tool in the crime-reduction strategy.

spayne@tricitynews.com
@spayneTC

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