While there were small increases in both property and persons crimes last year, Coquitlam’s overall crime rate for 2022 was almost as low as it’s ever been, according to a year-end report from Coquitlam RCMP.
There were 47 crimes per 1,000 Coquitlam residents in 2022, “which remains near the historic low,” stated the RCMP report, which was presented to Coquitlam council on Monday. The city’s crime rate was at its lowest point in 2020 when there were 46 crimes per 1,000 residents.
“Coquitlam remains a very safe city,” Coquitlam RCMP Insp. Darren Carr told Coquitlam council Monday afternoon.
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There were 1,395 persons crimes in Coquitlam in 2022, approximately 45 percent of which were assaults.
Persons crimes, which include offenses ranging from arson and kidnapping to extortion and uttering threats, has been rising for the past three years. The rate of persons offenses rose by 10 percent from 2020 to 2021 and about five percent from 2021 to 2022.
It’s hard to pinpoint a reason for the increase, according to police.
“Since a large proportion of these files occur between persons known to one another, it is difficult to provide explanations for changes in frequency from year to year,” the report stated.
Besides assaults, most of the offenses in Coquitlam consist of uttering threats and harassment, according to the report.
According to Statistics Canada, Coquitlam’s crime severity index has generally been decreasing since 2003.
Mental health calls continued to spike last year, rising by approximately 20 percent in 2022.
The increase is due to “limited resources and processes” to help people with mental health and addiction issues, resulting in police being asked to act as first responders, according to the RCMP report.
More vacancies, fewer tickets
Police handed out approximately 21 percent fewer traffic tickets in 2022 than in 2021.
The drop was in part due to an “unusual number of vacancies” in the traffic unit, Carr explained.
“We have since regained some traffic members and are now seeing an increase in road safety initiatives and enforcement,” he told council.
Coquitlam police recorded 4,191 property crimes in 2022.
After dropping 16 percent from 2019 to 2020, the property crime rate in Coquitlam have been fairly consistent over the past three years, dropping by 3.9 percent from 2020 to 2021 before rising 4.2 percent in 2022.
The three most common property crimes were: theft from vehicles, shoplifting, and mischief to property.
In 2023, police are planning to focus on break and enters as well as catalytic converter thefts. Police are also looking to patrol shopping areas to deter shoplifters.
Coquitlam paid $30.9 million in police costs in 2022, as well as $30,000 for handheld lasers meant to help with ticketing speeders.
Related: Tri-Cities’ crime severity index has dropped by more than 50 percent since the 1990s