In dealing with statistics keep in mind the centuries old saying regarding the three degrees of falsehood: the first is a fib, the second is a lie, and then come statistics. Stats are dangerous territory to entirely base your opinion or your actions upon, especially statistics gained within a small population like ours and over a short time period of two years.
Hope RCMP presented their year-end report to Hope council last week, a report that poses many avenues for discussion.
Within the year-end statistics released by the Hope RCMP there is good news, not so good news, and there is bad news.
According to police, however, crime stats in almost all areas were down. Agreed. There were some significant drops including the number of arsons, the number of robberies, causing a disturbance files, shoplifting files, and motor vehicles incidents… But there were also some troubling statistics that deserve our attention.
Weapons offences, as questioned by Hope council, rose steeply in both Hope and the Boston Bar region. In Hope, in 2009, there were 11 weapons offences, that figure jumped in 2010 to 50 weapons offences committed within the community. In the Boston Bar region, in 2009, there were only three weapons offences committed. That figure jumped to 20 files opened in 2010.
And in both communities, auto theft, as well as commercial and residential break and enters, saw little or no positive change.
Theft over $5,000 spiked in Hope from seven cases to 15 cases. At a low-end estimate, that figure translates into $75,000 in property impacted by crime in 2010. Add in the theft under $5000 cases, which jumped from 104 in 2009 to 153 files in 2010, and that is a significant financial hit to the community.
In the Boston Bar region although there were no files opened for theft over $5,000, 17 theft under $ 5000 police files were opened – a significant jump up from the nine cases in 2009.
Any statistician will rightly tell you that the small sample of time and case numbers contained in this report, makes it foolish for anyone to jump to any quick conclusions. As well, targeted policing can cause a jump in one stat, for example a push on grow operations can jump drug files, and one good traffic cop in the Fraser Canyon can spike traffic offences. On the other hand public apathy in reporting, for example, shoplifting and other small offences, can create an apparent drop in crime.
But despite police assurances, there still there seems to be a clear message hidden within these statistics… considering the cost of policing this region, we don’t seem to be gaining much ground.