If you have noticed an increase in policing in Vanderhoof, don’t worry. It isn’t due to an increase in crime, but because the RCMP detachment in the District is taking proactive measures.
Vanderhoof RCMP detachment has been out and about in the community for the past month, doing road blocks to check for impairment, licenses and driving infractions.
Sgt. Rodney Guthrie of the Vanderhoof RCMP said for the month of February they had 15 road blocks and they handed out three impairment charges during that time.
“The ideal thing is that we are out there doing check stops and vehicle stops. We got three impaired drivers for 15 of those road blocks, and it shows that people are getting the message,” he said.
People have been worried about the increase in crime, and Guthrie said this time of the year there is an increase in break and enters on vacant properties, but crime on the whole has not increased.
Apart from break and enters, the Vanderhoof RCMP has had three reports in the past couple of weeks of gas being stolen from cars. All the three reports were from the same night, Guthrie said.
As a preventive measure he suggests parking vehicles in a visible place with adequate lighting. Vehicle owners could purchase gas locks as well.
“If you get a locking cap that would help. Usually there are four cases through the year, but these three were reported in a single night. It’s one event and probably looks like the same people. These are thefts that have been reported to us, but it is possible that there are more and haven’t been reported,” Guthrie said.
If the gas in your car has been siphoned Guthrie suggests reporting it to the RCMP. “Even if there is potential that it is not being solved, the more we know about the location and time, then we can look at different strategies to combat it.”
Vanderhoof does have a volunteer community crime watch group, Guthrie said that informs the RCMP about crime. He said the group is looking for more people to join their efforts and if one is interested they can get in touch with the Vanderhoof RCMP who will forward the group’s contact to the interested individuals.
Meanwhile, he said the District’s recorded crime rates have been spiking in certain areas, not due to an increase in crime but due to an updated way of recording crime that began Jan 1, 2019.
“What we did before is that if we couldn’t say for sure that a crime happened, it wouldn’t be counted as a statistic. But now they have switched it. So now if you can’t say that it did not happen, it gets counted as a statistic. So a lot of things that couldn’t be counted, are being counted now.”
Due to this change, Guthrie said it would take at least two years before the RCMP would be able to compare crime numbers.
“For example a break and enter was reported the other day. So the person came home and found their door open. There is no actual evidence that there was a break-in. We can’t say of the person left the door open but we have to score that as a break and enter. Is it a break and enter? We don’t think so, but we aren’t sure, so that increases our actual number,” he said.