Crimes and police calls in Vernon took a considerable dip in the final quarter of 2020, but Vernon RCMP’s latest report also reaffirmed broad concerns of a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic.
According to the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP’s quarterly policing report, the total number of calls for service in Vernon for the fourth quarter of 2020 (October to December) was 4,188. That number is down 21 per cent from 5,313 in the previous quarter.
Criminal code offences were also down in Vernon, which recorded 1,263 last quarter — a decrease of 16 per cent.
In the report’s breakdown of the 15 most commonly reported and impactful crimes, Vernon saw an overall decrease of 20 per cent — down to 3,929 files from 4,888 in the third quarter of 2020, and from 4,475 in 2019.
Domestic violence has been a closely watched crime statistic amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with organizations including Vernon’s Turning Points Collaborative reporting a higher number of cases during the stay-at-home public health recommendations.
In Vernon, the RCMP responded to 29 domestic violence cases last quarter — up from 26 in the previous quarter and from 20 in the previous year.
Assault crimes dipped to 100 from 123 the previous quarter and 130 the previous year. Assault crimes include domestic violence, though it’s unclear from the report how many assault cases are in fact cases of domestic violence.
Theft under $5,000 was also on the decline in the final months of 2020. There were 286 files in fourth-quarter 2019, versus, 199 last quarter (a 30 per cent drop) and 237 in the quarter previous.
In Coldstream, total calls for service were down 20 per cent from the previous quarter, and criminal code offences were down 41 per cent. The district’s statistical breakdown saw a dip in total crimes from 498 to 303.
Armstrong’s total crime files also diminished slightly in the fourth quarter last year, from 257 in the third quarter to 250.