Abbotsford’s crime rate drops 12 per cent, but fatal crashes are up

Police have released their year-end statistics for 2012.

Abbotsford Police are reporting a 12 per cent drop in overall crime

Abbotsford Police are reporting a 12 per cent drop in overall crime

The number of overall crimes in Abbotsford dropped 12 per cent from 2011 to 2012, but collisions resulting in injuries and fatalities went up.

The 2012 year-end statistical report released this week by the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) shows there were 7,962 criminal code offences last year, compared to 9,049 in 2011.

Const. Ian MacDonald said this decrease contributes to a 40 per cent drop in crime in the last four years, putting within reach the APD’s goal of 50 per cent in five years.

He attributes the decrease to a focus on “intelligence-led policing” that includes analysts pinpointing crime trends in the city and officers targeting individuals – such as prolific car thieves – that could be responsible.

“It (crime analysis) just gives us more tools to use,” MacDonald said.

Drops were noted in almost every crime category. Among the most significant were vehicle theft (down 38 per cent), firearms/explosives (26 per cent), assault with a weapon (23 per cent), and sexual offences (22 per cent).

Areas experiencing an increase over 2011 were theft over $5,000 (up 22 per cent), robbery (six per cent) and domestic violence (15 per cent).

MacDonald said the increase in domestic violence files can be attributed to more focus on helping victims report crimes and supporting them through the court process.

But the most substantial increases were noted in a non-crime category – traffic collisions.

There were 501 collisions resulting in injuries in 2012, compared to 477 in 2011.

There were nine traffic-related fatalities in 2012 – up 125 per cent from the four fatalities the previous year.

The numbers resulted in the APD making road safety its top priority for 2013, leading to increased enforcement, public awareness campaigns, and ongoing consultations with the city and ICBC on road improvements.

Despite the concerted efforts, MacDonald said traffic issues continue to plague the city and can be mainly attributed to bad driving behaviours, rather than road conditions or other factors.

He said police will continue to address these issues throughout the year.