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.

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 (, 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.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lakeland Flowers officially opened on April 14 and the U-pick flower farm has been attracting a lot of attention online. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers blooming for spring

U-pick tulip flower farm generating significant buzz online after opening this month

The charitable organization Mamas for Mamas is hoping to expand its services in Abbotsford. (Photo by Ratna Fitry from Pixabay)
National charity Mamas for Mamas looks to expand services in Abbotsford

Organization supports moms and caregivers facing struggles

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A recent virtual gala raised $150,000 for Abbotsford Hospice Society and its Holmberg House. (Abbotsford Hospice Society photo)
Abbotsford Hospice’s Light Up the Night gala raises almost $150K

Virtual event included pre-show drive-thru pickup of farm-fresh meals

Matthew Balogh was last seen in Abbotsford on Sunday, April 18 at 10 a.m.
Police seek help in locating missing 17-year-old in Abbotsford

Matthew Balogh was last seen at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 18

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read