A big jump in property crimes has city council calling for increased enforcement and harsher punishments.
Port Alberni’s top cop Brian Hunter says incidents have jumped from 287 in the third quarter last year to 345 in the same period this year.
He said hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods are stolen by shoplifters each year, and there has been a noticeable increase in property crimes through the past 6 weeks.
Mayor Mike Ruttan said the epidemic has caused businesses to close.
He said the epidemic has caused some business owners to sleep in their stores in an effort to protect them
Ruttan said shoplifting is a major problem at grocery stores and department stores, and is getting worse.
He wants the police to find out who the thieves are selling to, and dismantle the market for stolen goods.
Ruttan is also calling on the courts to start getting tougher on the few people behind the bulk of the crimes.