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As gas prices climb, so do thefts of fuel in the Shuswap

Salmon RCMP statistics show drop in break and enters, increase in thefts not related to homes
Staff Sgt. Scott West of Salmon Arm RCMP addresses city council in January 2020, prior to Covid restrictions. (File photo)

Violent crimes in Salmon Arm and area from April through June this year were up over the same period in 2021, while break and enters were down.

Staff Sgt. Scott West’s quarterly report to Salmon Arm council included highlights and low lights. He noted that officers responded to a total of 2,250 calls for service, 1,674 within city limits. The Salmon Arm calls were up by 150 reports over the same time last year.

An increase of 38 investigations of violent crime included increases in general and sexual assaults.

Break and enters were down over last year, which West said underlines how police being able to curtail just one or two offenders in the city can make a big difference to crime numbers.

In mid-July, a person who police consider a property criminal who operates in both the city and rural areas was arrested. West said the public was helpful in locating the person after being alerted to the police investigation.

Property crime overall was up slightly across the city because thefts that weren’t related to homes increased.

One of the most recent has been the theft of fuel, prompted by skyrocketing fuel prices, West said.

He spoke of “horror stories of people having gas tanks slashed and their fuels removed, that way causing extensive damage to their vehicles. And locks being broken on machinery…”

As Highway 1 runs through the city, West said officers continue to be busy in traffic enforcement. Of 161 traffic stops, 13 were for high-risk driving behaviours like distracted driving, excessive speed, and intersection offences.

In the three-month period, 19 impaired drivers and four prohibited drivers were removed from the roads.

Along with Salmon Arm officers, BC Highway Patrol continued its work. The patrol issued 149 tickets and, of those, 51 were for distracted driving and 17 were for intersection lights.

West said 21 collisions involving injuries, or damage over $10,000, were reported in the city, a decrease from 32 in the same period in 2021.

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Regarding investigations, police are working on four child pornography files involving the internet, as well as files on houses believed to be involved in the drug trade.

“They are balancing this with two shooting files which occurred in the outer-lying jurisdiction,” West wrote.

He said officers laid two charges of break and enters at local businesses. The detachment was also successful in apprehending a man who was the subject of Canada-wide warrants for breaching federal parole and had been living under an assumed name for three years.

He said the online crime reporting system is gaining momentum with 38 reports online, a number greater than for all of 2021.

West also said the detachment is called upon to provide resources for major events in B.C. and Canada. One of those was releasing an officer for the visit of the pope to Alberta.

West noted the detachment has been working with city staff and other agencies on issues around homelessness.

“I would like to applaud the work being done by our social agencies, Cedar Place, our local bylaw officers and our fire department. We all know that these situations challenge all of our departments because of their complex and sensitive nature. It will take all of these agencies to deal with this issue on a case by case basis as they arise.”

Regarding staffing, West said Sgt. Simon Scott has joined the detachment from the Lower Mainland and brings a wealth of knowledge regarding general policing as well as major crime investigations.

Also joining the detachment is an officer from Dawson Creek and one from Kitimat.

Council members expressed appreciation to detachment staff and the Highway Patrol for the work they do.
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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