Prince George saw a 22 per cent decrease in crime in 2008, compared to 2007.
Crime statistics released by the province Monday showed the number of criminal code offenses in the city dropped from 14,080 in 2007 to 10,943 in 2008.
“This is a direct result of the targeted approach we’ve been taking,” Prince George RCMP Supt. Brenda Butterworth-Carr said. “All of our crime statistics are down, except vandalism. That speaks volumes in terms of how we’re doing business.”
The city’s crime statistics last year were the lowest in the last 10 years. The second-lowest year in the last decade was 2000 which saw 12,645 criminal code offenses committed in the city.
Across the province, crime was at the lowest rate in over 30 years. The province saw crime decline by eight per cent in 2008 the fifth annual decrease.
Unlike the rest of the province, Prince George had seen crime rates stay at a steady, high level until the dramatic drop last year. The city’s crime rate still remains above the provincial average with 148 crimes per 1,000 people, compared to 96 per 1,000 provincially.
Butterworth-Carr credited the introduction of a crime analyst to the detachment and the work of the newly-formed crime reduction team with turning the city’s crime rate around.
“When you’re focused on what you want to achieve… you get results. They know who are the key and significant players in committing these offenses. We’re looking for hotspots in the city,” she said. “It started to roll out in 2007 and really had a good foundation in 2008.”
Butterworth-Carr said the she will continue to work with the community to reduce crime in the city.
“One of the things we’ll be doing is putting a downtown enforcement unit in place,” she said. “It’ll be full-time, to be consistent. They’ll get to know the people and business owners down there. That, again, will help.”
Within the detachment, police have been taking a more multi-disciplinary approach incorporating officers from different units in the same investigation to gain a diversity of experience and expertise.
“We have very innovative men and women (in the detachment) and some of the ideas they come up with are excellent.”
Violent crimes in the city were down 30 per cent between 2007 and 2008. A total of 1,258 violent crimes were committed last year.
The number of reported sex crimes dropped from 105 to 67 last year.
Property crime dropped 33 per cent 4,142 were reported in 2008 compared to 6,233 in 2007.
Vandalism was the only area to increase between 2007 and 2008. The number of vandalism reports increased from 1,804 to 1,938 a 7.5 per cent jump.