Don’t blame the homeless for crime in the streets.
Statistics collected by the Ridge Meadows RCMP for the first three months of this year don’t back that up.
As part of the RCMP’s crime stats analysis, police looked at part of the downtown near the temporary homeless shelter on Lougheed Highway. The shelter has housed 40 people since the Cliff Avenue homeless camp closed last October.
“Year over year, there is no significant change,” since the shelter opened, said Supt. Dave Fleugel.
“While there have been crimes reported, the data does not suggest a large, upward swing.”
That could be thanks to the “extensive and coordinated policing and security program in place in the downtown core that has been dealing with the challenges of homelessness, mental health and addictions,” RCMP said.
Police say that, overall, crime has dropped by 22 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to 2015.
In the first three months of 2015, there were 2,457 Criminal Code offences in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
That has dropped to 1,921 in 2016.
Police say that about 60 per cent of the Criminal Code offences in Maple Ridge are property crimes – which is the area that experienced the most significant decrease.
Property crimes dropped 25 per cent in Maple Ridge and 27 per cent in Pitt Meadows.
However, there’s been a 13-per-cent increase in violent crimes, up from 215 to 244 during the first quarter.
“Historically, these cases involve assaults between people who know each other as opposed to random acts against strangers. I can assure citizens that this category of crime will continue to be our focus in 2016,” said Fleugel.
He reminded people to lock their doors and windows.