By Steve Hubrecht 

[email protected] 

Property crime continues to be a thorn in the side of Radium Hot Springs and Canal Flats, according to the Columbia Valley RCMP.

Detachment Sgt. Ed deJong appeared before both councils on Monday, Feb. 12 when he outlined law enforcement in these areas during the last quarter.

DeJong began by saying the detachment has 15 staff — one sergeant, two corporals, eight constables, three administrators and one victim services worker. Since the last RCMP update Cst. Sarah Desjardins joined the Columbia Valley detachment from RCMP Depot, administrator Christine Sadler joined from Nelson (bringing with her a wealth of experience working with the RCMP), and Cst. Brennan Kish left for Chilliwack in January.

“Currently there are no staffing changes anticipated in the near future and we are fully staffed at all positions,” explained deJong.

He noted that property crime continues to account for a large portion of calls for service to the RCMP, with 141 calls during the third quarter (October 1 to December 31) — 17.8 per cent of total calls for service in the third quarter were related to property crime.

“This crime involves both local criminals as well as travelling criminals and is often linked to illicit drug use. Many property crimes are crimes of opportunity that can be prevented by simply putting valuables away and locking doors and windows,” explained deJong, expounding on a message that has been repeatedly emphasized by every RCMP detachment commander for the past decade.

From October 1 to December 31, 2023 the Columbia Valley RCMP responded to 792 files; up only slightly from 785 files during the same period last year. In 2022 there were 795 third-quarter calls for service, and in 2021 there were 985 third-quarter calls for service.

Over the first three quarters of 2023-2024 the detachment responded to a total of 2,871 files, only four fewer than the 2,875 files over the same period the year prior.

The local RCMP continue to pay attention to mental health concerns, and since April 2023 they have responded to 83 calls where the primary concern was mental health. A total of 38 of these came during the third quarter, representing almost five per cent of all third-quarter calls.