RCMP Sgt. Rose talked to Houston Chamber of Commerce last Thursday about how business owners can avoid theft and property crime.
RCMP records show that property crime is not a big issue in Houston, Sgt. Rose said, adding that though thefts have increased in 2012, the increase is minor.
In 2009 to 2011, RCMP average was three shoplifting files, one theft file over $5,000 or under $5,000 and 14 thefts from vehicles per year, and in 2012 there were four shoplifting files, three over and under $5,000 thefts and 17 thefts from vehicles, he said.
But Sgt. Rose says he has been hearing about a lot of minor crimes that go unreported, such as pocket change stolen from a vehicle ashtray.
Sgt. Rose says under-reporting is a big problem because RCMP look for trends, such as a neighbourhood or business where a lot of crime is happening, and it can help RCMP identify where a criminal lives and what area RCMP should target.
“The average citizen assumes it’s a minor theft, it’s only a few coins or quarters, it’s not big deal, but it is if we are going to try find the person,” Sgt. Rose said.
He says that if they had a target area, RCMP could proactively put out a bait car, which has been an incredibly successful policing program.
Sgt. Rose says he has heard a lot about minor, unreported crime and isn’t sure how much of it goes on.
“The reality is that property crime is not really a big issue here, but it may be if we were truly getting the accurate recording,” he said.
He adds that the major crime is not primarily from locals, but from travelling criminals on their way from Prince Rupert or Terrace to Prince George, like the recent thefts from the local Industrial Park.
Sgt. Rose says that such thefts are impossible for RCMP to predict, but there are things that businesses can do to help prevent it, like putting cameras on either end of the Industrial Park.
Having an alarm, and a camera or video surveillance at facilities is really important, he said.
It is also important for alarm holders to have an identified property representative, so that if an alarm goes off, RCMP have someone to talk to who can give them access to buildings to do a proper check, Sgt. Rose said.
Previously stationed in Squamish, Sgt. Rose said they had a business link program set up there, where RCMP got a contact person from each business, to whom they could broadcast crime trends or a specific offender or vehicle.
That way businesses could take proactive action against theft, and monitor the people of concern, he said, adding that he would like to get that set up in Houston as well.
“If they can do it in Squamish, we can do it here,” he said.