Photo from PG RCMP

There could possibly be a connection between property crimes in downtown Prince George and a lack of bus service, according to the police.

At the City Council meeting last night, the Prince George RCMP presented their year in review for 2018. 

Superintendent Warren Brown spoke with about the themes in the report.

“We are having a very challenging time specific to the increased number of homeless people and trying to find a balance between ensuring their safety and their vulnerability all the while trying to deter and identify criminal behaviour.”   

Brown said he wasn’t suggesting that everyone who is homeless is a criminal, but he did say there is an “overrepresentation” of homeless people with mental illness and addiction, which often leads to criminal activity.

For property crime, Brown said the RCMP have noticed that much of it in the downtown area is being done by people who don’t typically reside in Prince George.

“What we’ve seen in the past year when the Greyhound bus service stopped, we just noted that many of the individuals that have come to our attention through apprehension of criminal activity are actually from neighbouring communities,” said Brown.

“When we asked them why they are staying, many of them say there is just no way to get home.”

Downtown now has police presence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Brown also told that their work isn’t just about criminals, “Often times we focus on the offenders, but there are a lot of people in the community who are prolific victims.”  

He said the RCMP have programs in place to build trust and relationships with people who may not have felt comfortable reporting crimes to them.

Photo from PG RCMP

“We’re identifying who the threats in the community are and we’re taking harder action on them, but we need people to talk to us.”

For road crimes, RCMP surpassed their expectations with 1,552 tickets/charges issued, resulting in $266,397 of fine revenue.  

According to their calculations, those tickets used 616 hours of manpower and approximately $52,360 in wages. For every one dollar invested in the tickets, they generated $5.09.

1,287 speeding tickets, including 32 excessive. The top locations include Domano/Gladstone, Foothills/15th Ave, Ospika/Westwood, Hwy 16/Peden Hill, and Hart Hwy/Hoferkamp Rd.

There were 528 assaults over the year. Currently, the city sits at #21 on Maclean’s Most Dangerous Places List with an assault rate that’s well above the Canadian average.

Opioids, homelessness and human resources are the main pressures moving forward for the Prince George RCMP.