The Abbotsford Police Department hopes to have a full-time ‘integrated court’ in the new courthouse currently under construction at Trethewey Street and Veterans Way. The court is expected to be completed next year.

Abbotsford Police plan ‘integrated court’ to deal with repeat offenders

Pilot project planned for this fall, with 9 people identified for support

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) is planning to launch a pilot project this fall to help keep prolific offenders from ending up in and out of jail.

Chief Mike Serr said the APD is looking at an “integrated court model” – often referred to as a community court or drug court – to address the issues behind the criminal behaviour of habitual offenders.

Serr said the partners involved in the project – including police, Crown counsel, the City of Abbotsford, and community corrections – will identify nine people who they think would benefit.

The idea is to set them up with services, such as drug treatment or housing, “and see if we can find better pathways,” Serr said.

“We are frustrated when we do arrest somebody who’s committed multiple property-crime offences, and they’re back on the street, and it’s just that repeating cycle,” Serr said.

He said property crime continues to be a challenge for the APD, with almost 2,300 crimes such as break-ins, theft of vehicles, and theft from vehicles reported from Jan. 1 to April 30 of this year.

Although that rate is down 12.3 per cent from the same period in 2018, Serr said the APD is still working diligently to drop that number further.

He referred to most of these offences as “survival crimes” that are committed, for example, to support a drug addiction.

Serr said that, for such individuals, supporting a drug habit of $100 a day requires them to steal $1,000 worth of items because they only get 10 cents on the dollar for fenced property.

But he said continuing to arrest, jail and release such a person does not address their underlying issue – their drug addiction – and results in them being an ongoing nuisance to the community.

Serr said it is hoped that the new courthouse currently under construction on Trethewey Street will have a full-time integrated court.

RELATED: Construction on new Abbotsford courthouse ramping up

Meanwhile, the APD is drawing attention to the issue of prolific offenders (those with 10 to 29 convictions) and super-prolific offenders (30 or more convictions).

“We have a relatively small group of people who commit a disproportionate amount of crime,” Serr said.

He said the theft of items in vehicles is the “biggest driver” of property crime. Sgt. Judy Bird said the APD doesn’t want to blame citizens for the work of thieves, but she said there are preventive steps that can be taken.

“Leaving your laptop in your car is something that is preventable. Leaving $2,000 in the door of your car is preventable,” she said.

Bird said the APD tends to see property-crime numbers drop when they post their “9 pm routine” on social media: a reminder for people to take valuables out of their vehicles, lock their vehicles, close their garage door, lock all their house doors, ensure all windows are shut and turn on an exterior light.

RELATED: Abbotsford Police promote ‘9 p.m. Routine’ to deter property crime

She encourages residents to report crimes in their neighbourhoods, whether they do it online (abbypd.ca), text 22973 (abbypd) or call 604-859-5225. That information is then added to the APD’s crime-mapping system, which is posted on its website.

Bird said this information also enables police to alert the public, allocate resources to these “hot spots” and check up on prolific offenders in the area.

“The only way we know how crime is happening or where it’s happening or what is happening is if people call us,” she said.



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Dainty Dish signs off with Abbotsford School District

25-year partnership saw over 1.8 million lunches served; future of school lunch program unclear

Rolling with the punches: Abbotsford Mission Boxing Club finds new home

Club moves from Mission to Maclure Road in Abbotsford

Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s ER expansion still in the works

Deadline for construction proposals recently closes, but construction timeline unknown

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

August agony: unlucky eighth month is busiest for Fraser Valley motorists

Serious slowdowns on Highway 1 are most common in August

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Most Read