Youth crime drops by 21 per cent in Abbotsford

Abbotsford saw a 21 per cent drop in overall youth crime from 2009 to 2010, according to the most recent figures released by the Abbotsford Police Department.

Sgt. Mike Novakowski spreads out a body blanket during a presentation at a school in 2009

Sgt. Mike Novakowski spreads out a body blanket during a presentation at a school in 2009

Abbotsford saw a  21 per cent drop in overall youth crime from 2009 to 2010, according to the most recent figures released by the Abbotsford Police Department.This has been the most dramatic decrease locally in the last four years, and a more significant reduction than what is occurring nationally.In Abbotsford, there were a total of 548, 558 and 550 youth crimes in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. Last year, the number dropped to 433.National youth crime figures are not yet available for 2010, but the stats from 2008-09 show decreases of anywhere from one to six per cent, depending on the type of offence. Const. Ian MacDonald said the drop in youth crime in Abbotsford can be attributed mainly to one factor. “We have to credit the youth themselves. We have to acknowledge that in our own community, they have made some pretty good choices,” he said. MacDonald said Abbotsford teens have been an integral part of the community’s response to gang violence, particularly following the turmoil that occurred in 2009. There were 11 murders that year, with eight of them being linked to organized crime.The first four involved young people. Ryan “Whitey” Richards, 19, was found in a field behind a produce store on the Abbotsford/Chilliwack border; Sean “Smurph” Murphy, 21, was found shot to death behind the wheel of a car in Bateman Park: and W.J. Mouat students Joseph Randay, 18, and Dilsher Gill, 17, were found in a car on Sumas Mountain.No charges have been laid in any of the cases.MacDonald said these incidents sent a clear message to local youth about the seriousness of criminal activity. They responded positively when Abbotsford Police began holding presentations – staring with the Operation Impact series – on the topic, and have continued to support the endeavours that followed.“Our youth are very interested in messaging. They’re very interested in what other people have to say,” MacDonald said.

Other youth crime stats in Abbotsford:– Property crimes decreased 16 per cent, from 194 in 2009 to 162 in 2010;– Crimes against person dropped 14 per cent, from 113 to 97;– Violent crime declined 30 per cent, from 30 to 21; and– Other criminal code offences dropped 41 per cent, from 66 to 39.