Port Alberni RCMP Inspector Brian Hunter says police are getting frustrated by repeat offenders, driving up the crime rate which then causes the public to become critical of police.
Hunter mentioned a recent case where a repeat offender was in jail only 4 days on charges serious enough that crown prosecutors were asking for 9 months jail.
Hunter said he understands councils concerns about sentences imposed by judges, which should be brought up with the judiciary.
Mayor Mike Ruttan says each taxpayer in Port Alberni pays $500 a year for policing, and while officers are working hard and making arrests, criminals are being treated too lightly by the judiciary.
Port Alberni’s crime rate shot up over the past few months, with a 55% increase in property crime compared to last year.
There were 2271 calls for service in the first three months of this year, which is the highest in 5 years, with assaults, sex offenses, shoplifting, and thefts from vehicles also reaching record levels.
On the positive side, Hunter said local police statistics on the time it takes to solve a crime are half the provincial average, and he was unable to find another BC detachment with similar rates.
Ruttan says he’ll be meeting with MLA Scott Fraser and MP Gord Johns along with other local agencies to discuss the issue, in hopes of getting support from local judges through the BC Attorney General.