City crime trends continue downward: Pay for new staff out of existing $52.4 M budget
With crime rates continuing a decade long decline, a local taxpayer advocacy group is calling for close scrutiny of the Victoria Police Services increased budget request of 4.76 per cent for 2018.
All but one crime metric reverted to a downward trend in Victoria during 2016, according to the most recent BC Policing Jurisdiction Crime Trends Report for 2007-2016. These current figures weren’t included in the provisional budget documents presented at the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board and joint councils meeting last month.
“Sure there’s merit in the request for six additional officers and two civilian support staff to bolster front-line policing”, says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.“But no offence, we believe there are adequate resources in the existing $52.4 million budget to do the job considering the downward trend in crime.”
In 2016 criminal code offences in the city declined by 7.9 per cent, crime rates by 7.6 per cent, violent offences by 5.2 per cent, and property offences by 4.4 per cent. Motor vehicle thefts however increased by 20 per cent in 2016, although still down by 75 per cent since 2006.
This trend may very well be continuing in 2017: In the second quarterly report to Esquimalt and Victoria councils in September, the number of reported occurrences and dispatched calls decreased year-over-year in both municipalities.
It’s very positive that crime has decreased in the last few years and a credit to the quality community policing work, says Bartlett. Certainly, there are still various policing challenges in an urban jurisdiction of Victoria and the Township of Esquimalt (which is also policed by the Victoria Police Department).
In 2017, the Victoria/Esquimalt policing budget of $52.4 million policing represented 23 per cent of the city’s operating budget – a percentage that hasn’t changed since 2012. This compares to New Westminster (15.7% in 2017) and Vancouver (19.4% in 2015).
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BC Policing Jurisdiction Crime Trends Report 2007-2016, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Aug. 2017. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/law-crime-and-justice/criminal-justice/police/publications/statistics/bc_police_jurisdiction_crime_trends_2007-2016.pdf
Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board and Joint Council Meeting (Including presentation of provisional budget 2018), Oct. 10, 2017. https://www.vicpd.ca/sites/default/files/board_uploads/2017%2010%2010%20Joint%20Council%20Meeting%20Agenda%20Package.pdf
‘Policing requirements to support growing communities,’ Sept. 2017, Victoria Police Services report, pages 29-73. http://vicpd.ca/sites/default/files/board_uploads/2017%2010%2010%20Joint%20Council%20Meeting%20Agenda%20Package.pdf
Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board, Public Agenda, Sept. 19, 2017. https://www.vicpd.ca/board-meetings-minutes
Grumpy Taxpayer$ is a non-profit, unaffiliated, non-partisan, citizen’s advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes, less waste, and more accountable municipal government. DONATE & JOIN US?