Crime rate shows first increase in two years

Property-related crime and drugs helped drive up York’s crime rate in 2013, the first increase in two years, RCMP statistics suggest.
The total number of Criminal Code offences increased 23 per cent to 11,782.
In 2013, there were a total of 9,528 Criminal Code offences, down 12 per cent from 2013. In 2013, the rate had decreased by two per cent.
But last year, property-related crimes, such as theft, break and enter, and robbery, saw an in crease of 34 per cent, to 6,128.
Drugs offences, especially cocaine possession and trafficking, jumped 36 per cent to 417. There were 306 drug offences in 2013.
Total collisions and traffic-related cases bucked the trend, dropping 11 per cent to 33,449 from 37,616.
Drunk driving declined by 12 per cent to 454 from 518.
Insp. Peter Calvert said it appears the court system is focusing more of its resources on violent crime.
This is making it more difficult to convince justice officials to keep individuals charged with property-related crimes in custody until they appear in provincial court, he said.
Some of these individuals released back into the community are committing more crimes, which increases the statistics, he added.
“I’m not saying first-time offenders or small-time offenders be held in custody. We don’t have the resources to do that,” said Calvert.
“When you start getting repeat offenders in, there has to be an effort made to keep them incarcerated until such time they appear in court.”
The crime statistics for December and 2013 were released Tuesday at the York Policing Committee’s monthly meeting.
There were 96 break and enters in December compared with 57 in 2013, a 68 per cent increase.
The number of stolen vehicles climbed 13 per cent to 43 from 38. Incidents of theft under $5,000 rose 22 per cent to 289.
The RCMP ran 22 CheckStops in December, down from 50 the previous year. The total number of CheckStops plummeted 56 per cent to 62 from 140.
Cocaine continued to be a problem in the city in December, according to the statistics.
Two more cases of cocaine possession were filed, raising the annual total to 40. There were just 14 cases in 2013.
There was one case of cocaine trafficking, raising the annual total to 63. That’s a 163 per cent increase from 2013.
Police estimate that as many as 80 per cent of robberies are to get money to feed drug habits.
Policing committee chair Phil Hyde said the statistics strengthen the committee’s call to put more officers on the ground.
City council is aware of the problem, but balancing the budget can be a real juggling act, he said.
“I think council is going to give (the RCMP) everything it can,” said Hyde. “Is it going to be everything Supt. Steele asked for? I hope so. But I know council has some hard decisions to make.”