Merritt sees 20% drop in crime last year, largest in Southern Interior: RCMP | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Merritt sees 20% drop in crime last year, largest in Southern Interior: RCMP

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January 29, 2021 - 2:30 PM

Merritt saw a big drop in its crime rates across several major crime categories last year.

Overall criminal code offences dropped 20 per cent in 2020 compared to the previous year, the largest per capita drop in the entire RCMP Southeast District, police spokesperson Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said in a press release today, Jan. 29.

It's possible the crime reduction "may be largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic,' with more people staying home and fewer public gatherings in 2020, O'Donaghey said.

Merritt RCMP investigated 145 assaults compared to 167 cases in 2019, down 13 per cent, while person-related violent offences dropped by four per cent. Weapons offences were up 16 per cent from 26 to 39 incidents, while drug trafficking charges also rose from 11 to 43 calls, up 290 per cent.

Commercial break and enters were down four per cent from 2019, as were residential break and enters. That category was down 21 per cent, from 37 incidents in 2019 to 29 reported in 2020. Property crime fell 30 per cent, from 1,207 calls in 2019 to 841 in 2020.

Although the drop in crime in Merritt was the largest in the Southern Interior, the reduction appears consistent with other communities in the region of similar size, RCMP said.

"I’m very pleased with how our front line officers, support units and detachment staff have adapted seamlessly, despite the new challenges posed by a global pandemic, to continue to deliver a high quality of policing service to the community and surrounding areas," Merritt RCMP detachment commander Staff Sgt. Major Steph Drouin said in the release.

"This information is intended to create better awareness and understanding of the incidence of crime in our community, and help enable community engagement and further promote crime prevention."

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