By Shaun Aquiline
Crime rates are often a concern in resort communities and RCMP detachment commander Staff Sergeant Kurt Grabinsky recently dropped by the EZ Rock station to discuss local crime rates with me:
SA — What has the crime rate looked like since 2008?
KG — The Crime Rate for Revelstoke has not changed much since 2008. However our call volume has increased over that time. The community has not encountered some of the impact that tourism usually results in. The increase in call volume and the increase in complexity of files has resulted in the Revelstoke Detachment becoming busier. All investigations must meet our policies and procedures as well as if charges are being forwarded, compliance with Case Law. With that the officers are busier than they ever have been before; we are also working in so many social areas, such as working with vulnerable persons and assisting with mental health issues.
SA — Does the crime rate rise, drop or stay the same during our winter peak season compared to our shoulder seasons?
KG — The volume of calls peaks in the summer months, but has another increase during the 4 winter months, December to March. During July and August is when the police receive an average of 500 calls per month. Many are noise complaints, drug complaints, missing persons, erratic drivers on the TCH, and suspicious occurrences.
SA — Is there a percentage of crimes that are “local” crimes compared to “transient” crimes?
KG — We do not keep statistics on the origin of the offenders. We do however note informally that often those responsible for property thefts are transient persons. The police encounter many people who have stopped in Revelstoke with no money or means to continue their travels. Without a shelter, they occasionally take advantage of unlocked vehicles, homes, sheds and car ports and acquire things that they can sell.
We do observe that many of the Cause Disturbance or Noise Bylaw occurrences are directly related to temporary residents and seasonal employees. They peak near the end of ski season when it appears they no longer have a tie to the community and fail to respect neighbours and the community since they are leaving. We do not target seasonal residents, but this situation repeats each year. We have consulted with Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration and Inland Enforcement Section and have been advised that reporting these incidents can limit the return to Canada for such behaviour. We are sharing this information with the public, but specifically the International seasonal workers so they are aware of the expectations upon them for their behaviour if they wish to return to Canada.
SA — What are the most common crimes that have a tendency to happen in Revelstoke?
KG — The most common crime in Revelstoke is theft. We see thefts of such property as skis, bikes, tools, items from inside vehicles, sleds and vehicles. The vehicles are usually recovered outside of Revelstoke which leads us to believe that most of those incidents occurred from someone passing through. Especially when a reported vehicle theft in Revelstoke coincides with a recovered stolen vehicle from another community located in Revelstoke.
The next most common criminal offence is Causing a Disturbance. This involves noise complaints, drunken behaviour and impeding in the enjoyment of a persons’ property.
The next most common criminal offence would be assaults. This includes stranger assaults usually following bar closure, domestic assaults, and other serious bodily harm assaults.
The most common calls for service for police are not always criminal offences but social issues, such a mental health act issues, missing persons, and driving complaints.
SA — Would you say that our peak seasons in both summer and winter, although we have an influx of people that crime does NOT rise?
KG — As noted above.
SA — Has crime risen since the hill was created, dropped or remained the same?
KG — Call volume has increased, and with that a proportionate amount of crime occurrences. We are attempting to address this through proactive solutions, i.e. foot patrols, bike patrols, and increased presence of police at events, on the ski hill, at the sledding parking lots and in the schools. We are working with various agencies to increase our social footprint in working with vulnerable persons and helping with homeless persons.
SA — What are matters that you would suggest Moms & Dads be very aware of in order to be educated to prevent their young ones from being involved?
KG — Youth are influenced by their role models. We suggest that people should be the person they look up to. This is a wonderful community where people care for each other. This is evidenced every day. We would like to see parents lead by example – wearing bike helmets, stopping at stop signs when on their bikes, not driving while talking on or texting on cell phones, and using alcohol wisely. There have been too many instances where the police come across intoxicated youth and their parents supplied the liquor. This is not teaching them responsibility. That is the key to teach all people the importance of being responsible for your actions, and the impact that that action has on others.
Social media is a huge realm where we are probably not even scratching the surface of the problems that are out there. Such issues as bullying, blackmail, harassment and threats are areas we understand are occurring every day. We encourage parents to be aware of what their children are doing on the internet. We also want to make youth aware that their privacy is important. Posting everything they do and their personal information can lead to fraud and situations where they are exposed and cause turmoil.
Shaun Aquiline is EZ Rock’s on-air host in Revelstoke and a frequent contributor to The Revelstoke Current.