Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Abbotsford Crime Spike

'Baffling' spike in Abbotsford break and enters


By Rafe Arnott, The Times September 2, 2010 Comments (4)

ABBOTSFORD -- Police in Abbotsford are at a loss to explain a massive jump in break and enter numbers during the last week of August.

Officers attended 33 property-related crimes scenes between Aug. 23 and Aug. 29, almost double the city's average of 17, Const. Ian MacDonald said.

When the overnight reports were tallied, officers were dumbfounded.


"We couldn't believe what the numbers were for that week."
There was nothing in any statistics or intelligence that police had to alert them to the spike, MacDonald said, no warning signs or upward trends.

"The three weeks prior to that spike we were in decent shape."
The crimes took place across the city, and there is no pattern or shared MO in the incidents, MacDonald pointed out. Nothing links the criminal activity to a particular individual or group.

Incidents like these go against normal property crimes spikes, said MacDonald, who added that historically a sudden increase is usually attributed to an individual or a group on a spree.

"It's all over the map. When we look at the MOs involved in these break and enters there isn't a consistency to them.

"We're not satisfied that we have a [James Ryan] Chaffey or another prolific offender that happens to be extremely active right now," MacDonald said.

"Different MOs, different times of day . . . so at this point we definitely need the public's assistance."

A request that is somewhat ironic, since MacDonald admitted there was one common factor in most of the incidents: neighbours witnessed the crimes.
"Almost in every instance we're coming across [witnesses] who did make observations, either of the actual break and enter or some indicators there was going to be one and they didn't report it to us," he said.

MacDonald said this isn't about police blaming members of the community, it's about police asking members of the community to work with them.
"We're 210 officers and we want to be responsive and do what we can . . . but we need [the public] to make that call."

If the city sees a doubling in break and enters, MacDonald said, in theory, police should see an increase in calls reporting suspicious activity. But that hasn't happened.

"We're trying to remove that hesitation."

Anyone who sees suspicious activity is asked to call the APD's non-emergency line at 604-859-5225.

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