Dr. Steve Sangha shows where a window was removed to break into his dental office on Harris Road.

Dr. Steve Sangha shows where a window was removed to break into his dental office on Harris Road.

Crime a concern in Pitt Meadows

RCMP downplay reports; stats show decrease for eight-month period compared to previous year.

Dr. Steve Sangha is concerned about crime in Pitt Meadows after glass was removed to break into his dental office Saturday, the third time in two years.

This time, the metal frame around one of his windows was removed, and the rubber gasket cut out, allowing the glass to pop out in one piece.

Sangha’s office, Harris Road Dental, was broken into two times before using the same method in January 2015.

It was used again Saturday, at about 4 a.m., when the break-in occurred.

The dentist’s office is equipped with security cameras and motion sensors, and police were there within minutes. But the suspect still escaped with a video game.

Usually, thieves are looking for petty cash boxes in dentists’ office, or for drugs. But most dentists keep neither on site, Sangha said.

“Last time, they stole money. This time, they stole a video game.”

Thieves are even prying open air conditioners to steal small amounts of copper for resale, and batteries from recreation vehicles, Sangha added.

“I think it’s all through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. I think it’s everywhere.”

His concerns were echoed in comments that Pitt Meadows resident Patricia Gordon made to Pitt Meadows council this week.

“Apparently, it’s become a very busy summer in the crime world in Pitt Meadows,” she told council. People are discussing that on social media.

She pointed out two bus shelters have been smashed lately, and cars have been broken into and bicycles stolen.

“It’s almost like we have a band of hooligans that are terrorizing parts of Pitt Meadows.”

However, Ridge Meadows RCMP statistics show a decrease in crime in Pitt Meadows for this year, up to Sept. 4, when compared to the same period in 2015.

Residential break-ins in Pitt Meadows are down from 27 from January to September 2015 to 20 for the same period this year.

The number of commercial break-ins have dropped from 27 to 14 in Pitt Meadows in the same period.

Theft from auto has dropped from 211 for that period in 2015 to 163 this year.

Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment has a total of 121 officers, with 22 of those assigned to patrolling Pitt Meadows.

Crime has dropped in Maple Ridge, as well. The number of commercial break-ins has dropped in Maple Ridge in the same period, from 128 in 2015 to 110 in 2016.

The number of thefts from vehicles also has dropped from 953 in 2015 to 813 in 2016.

However, residential break-ins have climbed, from 148 in 2015 to 164 in 2016.

Police also said it’s not true that there’s been an increase in crime caused by the opening of the temporary homeless shelter last October on Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge.

Mike Sekhon, however, said he has to deal with constant issues at his Subway locations in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

He’s continually having to help staff remove people from restaurant washrooms. Recently, a cashier was robbed at knife-point at the Subway location on 228th Street and Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge.

“It’s getting tough to run a small business,” Sekhon said. “It’s getting worse in the last two to three years. It’s not a safe place in Maple Ridge right now. There are too many druggies.”