It was a busy year for Prince George RCMP last year.
In fact, it was the busiest in the last eight years with the Prince George detachment handling 41,394 files during the year. That eclipses the 39,601 files it handled in 2008, the next busiest year in the past eight.
Supt. Warren Brown told council there was indeed a bit of a spike last year.
“It’s too early to suggest, or analyze, why that’s been,” he told council Monday. “We’ve had some crime types go up.”
In addition, he said, the RCMP have been encouraging people to call police which could account for an increase in files.
In terms of serious crimes, the detachment dealt with four murders in 2016, three of those were municipal and one was rural. There is also a missing persons case that police believe is likely a murder. The number of murders was the same in 2015, but there was only one murder in each of 2014 and 2013.
The number of sex assaults in the city went from 43 in 2015 to 59 in 2016, a 37 per cent increase, which may also be a result of increased reporting.
“We see that sexual assault has increased, but, again because some of the programs we have, including a more robust domestic violence program and little bit better outreach in the community, we believe we’ve built better relationships with the community partners,” said Brown. “I’d like to think people are becoming more comfortable trusting the police, therefore we’ve seen an increase.”
Robberies went from 64 in 2015 to 72 last year, a 13 per cent increase.
Aggravated assault cases went from 250 in 2015 to 196, a 22 per cent decrease. However common assault went from 561 to 605, an increase of eight per cent.
Break and enters went down six per cent, from 771 to 727. Vehicle thefts went from 127 in 2015 to 139 in 2016.
As for staffing at the detachment, Brown said he expects the detachment to be at full strength by the spring.
“If there’s two areas of focus for the upcoming year,” said Brown. “It’s to engage with community stakeholders around chronic offenders and provide other methods than traditional law enforcement. And the Third and George area. I hear from tenants and business owners … that’s simply an area that’s over-represented with crime and is a focus point for the upcoming year.”