Pubdate: Thu, 24 Aug 2017
Source: Alberni Valley News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Alberni Valley News
Author: Elena Rardon


B&E numbers on the rise in Port Alberni

The Port Alberni RCMP's officer in charge says the city's opioid
crisis is not getting better.

Inspector Brian Hunter was in council chambers on Aug. 14 to present
the quarterly report for the RCMP department.

The detachment received 2,231 calls for service in the city of Port
Alberni within the months of April to June, according to Hunter.

Of these calls, property crime is down, but break and enters went
significantly up for the quarter. This, said Hunter, was a "classic"
example of chronic offenders. Twenty-eight chronic offenders have been
identified by the detachment's crime reduction unit, and 18 of those
are in custody, as of July 19.

As an example of how chronic offenders can offset a crime trend,
Hunter pointed out that break and enters into businesses went up from
six in 2016 to 22 in 2017.

"Three individuals were responsible for the majority of those crimes,"
he said. "Since they were taken care of, there's been one."

He added that property crime and drug offences are some of the
priorities of the crime reduction unit, and as recently as last week,
they executed search warrants at the Carlson Building on Argyle St.
and seized a quantity of drugs and weapons.

"It's part of our continual enforcement in the community," he

Hunter was asked about the opioid crisis in Port Alberni, and he
confessed, "It's not getting better."

He suggested that the numbers are going to be worse than last year,
and said that more than 80 percent of all hard drugs now contain some
amount of fentanyl.

"It goes without saying, there is a lot of drug activity in the
community," he said. "We do what we can with our resources with
dealing with it. It's a resource-heavy investigation."

The Port Alberni detachment now has a powder hood and an ion scanner
to assist in examining drugs in a safe way, he said.

Mayor Mike Ruttan asked if the RCMP should be concerned about new
people coming into town, and Hunter admitted, "Our chronic offenders
are not people travelling through. It's just common sense to come to a
place that's cheaper to live. If we can make them a productive part of
our community, employment and those types of things, it's a good thing."

Hunter also added that the detachment didn't receive a single
complaint about either the Five Acre Shaker or Thunder in the Valley
multi-day events that occurred last weekend.

"It's a real testament to the organizers," he said. "They took it
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