Overall, break and enters are up 20 per cent in Prince George from January 1 to August 4, compared to the same period last year, according to the RCMP. Here is a breakdown:
- Business break and enters are up 30 per cent (161 to 209).
- Residential break and enters are up seven per cent (180 to 192).Although seven per cent is not a large increase, it is an increase on an already high number from 2016.
- Break and enters to sheds and other non-residential and non-business properties is up 32 per cent (64 to 85).
Of particular concern is the recent cluster of break-ins to homes and sheds in the core of the city. During the two week period from July 17-30, the area bounded by Ospika Boulevard in the west, the Nechako River to the north, the Fraser River to the east and Highway 97 to the south experienced 19 break and enters. This area includes the Crescents, the VLA and Spuceland. In some of these cases suspects are simply walking into unlocked homes.
This spike in property crime has occurred despite specific and targeted enforcement of the most prolific offenders in the community. Almost every day the detachment is making significant arrests of persons committing property crimes. In some cases these are people known to local police and in some cases they are offenders from other communities that we are unaware of. RCMP are routinely checking those persons with curfew conditions and checking suspicious persons that they come across in our patrols.
Unfortunately, the spike in these crimes rarely decline, as the thieves go undetected by the public or the public does not report suspicious activity they may see. In almost all cases, these property crimes are reported after the fact, maybe hours or days later. It is impossible for the police to be everywhere at all times. Police require the eyes and the assistance of the public to report criminal or suspicious activity as soon as possible.
Police encourage all property owners to acquire quality video surveillance and take the necessary steps to secure and protect their property. Ensure your property is secured and take these steps to deter thieves from making you a victim of crime:
- Record serial numbers or engrave your driver’s licence number on valuables;
- Take pictures of property and store the files on a disk;
- Report suspicious activity at all hours of the day;
- Get to know your neighbours and keep an eye on their property;
- Use security systems, cameras and other deterrents;
- Keep your doors locked, even if you are in the back yard;
- Lock you sheds and out building and secure property that you store inside;
- Close and lock your windows each time you leave your home, even in hot weather;
- Register your bicycles on the ‘529 Garage’ on-line program;
- Lock your vehicle doors and use an anti-theft device;
- When possible, do not leave valuables in your vehicle. If you must, leave them out of sight;
- Never leave your wallet, purse, identification or keys in a vehicle.
The Prince George RCMP are looking for information to help identify and locate persons involved in property crimes. If you have any information, please contact the Prince George RCMP at (250)561-3300 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1(800)222-8477, online at www.pgcrimestoppers.bc.ca(English only), or Text-A-Tip to CRIMES (274637) using keyword “pgtips”. You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information that leads to an arrest or the recovery of stolen property, you could be eligible for a cash reward.