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Crime spikes and falls again in Kerrisdale

Community policing helps bring the crime rates down

Photo: Jennifer Wilson
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Reported by Jennifer Wilson

In one of Vancouver’s safest neighbourhoods, police point to community engagement as the secret to success.

Kerrisdale has one of the lowest crime rates in Vancouver and thefts of up to $5,000 have fallen by two thirds this year after reaching a 12 year high in 2016, while Vancouver as a whole has seen an increase in property crime.

Sergeant Jason Robillard of the Vancouver Police Department said in an email that police working in conjunction with local organizations has helped reduce crime.

“Officers assigned to community policing in the area typically identify ‘hotspots’ for BNE [break and enter] and thefts,” Robillard said.

Tony Bulic, executive director of the Kerrisdale Oakridge Marpole Community Policing Centre, said volunteers act on this information provided by police.

“We are not the police; we are here as a middleman to inform the police and be a visual deterrent and be the eyes and ears,” Bulic said.

Robillard said crimes such as theft are often perpetuated by the same individual and once that person is removed, the rate decreases.

“Some chronic offenders have been responsible for a larger percentage of property crime. Once they are arrested the stats will drop,” he said. “Officers have recently identified a few chronic offenders in the area and had dedicated police resources to deal with specific offenders.”

Language support provides trust

Elisha Yao, executive director of the Chinese Community Policing Centre, said she works closely with the Kerrisdale CPC to provide Mandarin interpretations for residents.

According to Bulic, language support builds trust and encourages homeowners to join the block watch program.

Robillard also said ‘target-hardening’ work — making the target tougher to access — executed by the community policing staff is an effective way of reducing crimes.

For instance, clipping garden bushes and keeping items out of view in a vehicle can go a long way, or even placing a pair of thrift store boots outside a door can help.

“When a thief comes up and sees a man’s size 12 work boot he’ll think twice,” Bulic said.

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