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New West robberies: "More on the personal side'"

Some go up, some go down: Crime statistics in New Westminster show mixed results
Crime stats: Some crimes rose in New West in the first three months of 2023, while others trended downward, according to report to the New Westminster police board. photo James C Hooper - Moment - Getty Images

Robberies and some thefts are on the rise in New Westminster – but statistics don’t tell the whole story.

A report presented to the New Westminster police board at its April meeting outlined statistics in certain crime categories for January, February and March 2023.

Heather Boersma said she was reviewing the statistics and noticed that some crime type categories had seen “significant” increases, such as theft over $5,000 and robbery.

“Do we know what’s driving that change?” she said. “Some of them are 250 per cent. That’s significant.”

Deputy Chief Const. Paul Hyland said there’s nothing specific that he can point to show what’s behind the increases in some crime type categories.

Boersma said some of the numbers of actual incidents are fairly low so the percentage increases can be quite high. But she noted that others, such as robberies, have a “quite high” number of incidents, so the increases may not be a statistical anomaly.

Chief Const. Dave Jansen said the robberies that have been occurring in New West are “more on the personal side” and don’t often involve banks or stores.

“We haven’t seen any specific groups that may be have been targeting our community,” he added. “I think most of them have been robberies of circumstance or one-off type of robberies.”

According to Jansen, the New Westminster Police Department has been monitoring the robbery situation in the downtown core for the last little while.

“We haven’t seen it rising,” he said. “It’s been actually pretty consistent, number wise. So I’m wondering, as we go through the rest of the year, if these numbers might start to settle down a little bit.”

According to the report, total persons offences increased by 14 per cent in the first three months of 2023 compared to last year; there were 162 incidents in 2023 compared to 142 in 2022.

Some offences showed a downward trend in the first three months of 2023 compared to the same time last year.

Total property offences dropped by nine per cent (480 in 2023 compared to 527 in 2022) and collision offences dropped by 27 per cent (133 in 2023 compared to 182 in 2022).

Here are some of the person, domestic violence and property statistics from January, February and March 2023 included in the police board report

* Homicides: zero (same as in 2022)

* Sexual assaults: 20 incidents in the first three months of the year, compared to 16 during that same timeframe in 2022, a 25 per cent increase

* Assault – common: 83 in 2023 and 79 in 2022 – a five per cent increase

* Assault with a weapon: 36 in 2023 and 35 in 2022 – a three per cent increase

* Assault-aggravated: four in 2023 and two in 2022 – a 100 per cent increase

* Robbery: 19 in 2023 and nine in 2022 – a 111 per cent increase

* Domestic violence: 116 in 2023 and 140 in 2022 – a 17 per cent decrease

* Family violence: 53 in 2023 and 66 in 2022 – a 20 per cent decrease

* Break and enter – business: 18 in 2023 and 37 in 2022 – a 51 per cent decrease

* Break and enter – residence: 17 in 2023 and 20 in 2022 – a 15 per cent decrease

* Theft of vehicle: 36 in 2023 and 43 in 2022 – a 16 per cent decrease

* Theft from vehicle: 141 in 2023 and 184 in 2022 – a 23 per cent decrease

* Theft – other, over $5,000: nine in 2023 and two in 2022 – a 350 per cent increase

* Theft – other, under $5,000: 123 in 2023 and 104 in 2022 – an 18 per cent increase

* Mischief over $5,000: five in 2023 and two in 2023 – a 150 per cent increase

* Mischief $5,000 or under: 113 in 2023 and 124 in 2022 – a nine per cent decrease

* Weapons: 12 in 2023 and 20 in 2022 – a 40 per cent drop