The city’s murder total may have hit a 10-year high, but Vancouver police say the city’s overall crime rate was down 1.5 per cent compared to 2016.
According to the VPD’s year-end crime statistics, there were 19 murders in 2017, the most since 20 homicides were recorded in 2008. Vancouver’s violent crime rate also jumped to 7.6 per 1,000 population in 2017, an uptick of 1.9 per cent from 2016.
Vancouver’s overall violent crime rate was up 1.9 per cent in 2017 over 2016, but the 10-year trend is showing an overall decrease
Shots-fired incidents increased to 31 in 2017 from 26 the previous year and sexual offences were up two per cent. Bank robberies, meanwhile, were down from 68 in 2016 to 52 in 2017.
The rise in violent crime bumped a 10-year downward trend, as the overall rate has decreased 31.5 per cent since 2008, when the city posted a violent crime rate of 11.1.
Vancouver’s property crime rate dropped almost two per cent, ending five consecutive years of increases. Break-ins to businesses and residences were significantly reduced by close to 18 per cent in 2017 over the previous year.
“Theft from motor vehicles continues to be an issue in Vancouver, especially downtown. We saw an increase of 1.6 per cent in 2017 over the previous year,” Const. Jason Doucette, VPD spokesperson, said in a release. “While we’ll continue to target offenders, drivers can help by simply not leaving anything visible in their vehicles. If thieves can see it, they’re more likely to steal it.”
Doucette said mental health apprehensions dropped to 2,790 from 2,822 the year before.
“We continue to work alongside health professionals in integrated teams, like the Assertive Community Treatment Team and the Assertive Outreach Team, to connect people with resources,” he said.
The police have the authority, under Section 28 of the Mental Health Act, to bring a person to the hospital to be examined by a doctor if they believe the person is suffering from a mental illness and is likely to harm themselves or others.
Doucette said the VPD’s Car 87 program, which pairs a psychiatric nurse with a police officer, allows police to better respond to crisis situations by providing on-site assessments and intervention for people with psychiatric problems,
“We’re committed to providing people living with mental illness the help that they need,” he said.
Fatal motor vehicle collisions were also down, from 15 in 2016 to 13 in 2017.