Skip to content

In annual update, Squamish RCMP report 5% increase in crime

Other highlights include a handoff of the Sea to Sky Gondola investigation to the provincial RCMP's Major Crime Unit.

Squamish's biggest whodunnit has been escalated into the hands of a provincial task force.

Squamish RCMP have handed off the investigation into the two-time sabotage of the Sea to Sky Gondola to the provincial RCMP's Major Crime Unit.

This was one of the points made during the annual briefing that local officers gave to District of Squamish council on May 24.

Insp. Robert Dykstra, the officer in charge of the Sea to Sky force, said that the gondola investigation has been a lot of work for his team.

"The gondola fall, in particular, was very resource intensive — probably much larger of an investigation than our team was capable of handling — but we took responsibility for it in the first instance," said Dykstra. "And, for a couple of years, much of 2021 was spent from that team continuing with that investigation."

He said the town's police are providing transitional support and guidance. Squamish officers will also continue to support the file when local help is needed.

During the presentation, RCMP also provided general statistics about crime trends in the community.

According to numbers presented by staff Sgt. Gareth Bradley, local crime has had an overall increase when comparing 2021 with 2020.

In 2021, officers fielded 7,582 files, while in 2020, there were 7,206, which made for a total difference of 376 files, or an increase of 5%.

"As we go through them, we're down in violent persons offences — those are like assaults," said Bradley. "Property crime has been increasing. So, we had 1,056 property crime events , so a 16% increase from… 2020. And our traffic offences seemed to be down last year."

There were 389 violent crimes in 2021, down from 420 the previous year, a drop of 7%.

Property crime jumped to 1,056, up from 913.

For traffic offences, there were 106 recorded in 2021, down from 138 in 2020, a drop of 23%.

However, the traffic figures don't contain the whole picture because the severity of the traffic incidents was greater, the officer said.

"That's off a bit because our severity of traffic offences actually was quite high," said Bradley. "I think last year, we had a number of…serious road closures and fatalities last year."

Offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act, or CDSA, were down as a result of changes to laws involving cannabis.

There were 57 incidents involving that matter in 2021, down from 99 in 2020, which made for a 42% drop.

Overall, Bradley said, Squamish has a higher rate of Criminal Code offences per thousand people in comparison with the Lower Mainland.

With respect to mental health incidents, Bradley said that officers observed a downward trend when comparing 2020 with 2021.

"We actually had a decrease in the number of files in Squamish for mental-health related occurrences from 2020 to 2021," said Bradley. "But it still represents an overall 4% total file count for us throughout the year."

There were 88 cases that involved apprehensions, he said. That's the number of times officers took a person to the hospital for assessment.

It's a time-consuming activity, as Bradley said officers spent about 350 personnel hours taking people in mental distress to get medical assessments.




push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks