Saanich police reported an increase in violent crimes and a drop in traffic incidents in the first three months of 2021 compared to the final quarter of 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich police reported an increase in violent crimes and a drop in traffic incidents in the first three months of 2021 compared to the final quarter of 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich police report increase in violent crimes during first quarter of 2021

More domestic violence, less property crime and distracted driving compared to end of 2020

Crime data released by the Saanich Police Department shows an increase in violent crimes and driving suspensions in the first quarter of 2021, and a drop in thefts from vehicles, distracted driving and crashes with injuries.

On May 11, Saanich police released a quarterly report to the community reflecting the crime and incident data from January through March 2021 compared to the numbers from the final quarter of 2020.

READ ALSO: West Saanich Road reopens after deadly morning crash

Compared to the previous quarter’s 117 violent crimes, Saanich saw 132 incidents – a 13 per cent increase – in the first three months of 2021. Assaults were down to 54 from 63, but robberies increased from four to seven, sexual assaults climbed from 20 to 24 and instances of domestic violence jumped from 30 to 47.

The number of violent crimes reported in Saanich in the first three months of 2021 went up nearly 13 per cent compared to the previous quarter with numbers rising from 117 in 2020 to 132 in 2021. (Graph courtesy of the Saanich Police Department)

Calls for non-criminal incidents were also up in the first quarter, with 2,148 calls for service compared to 2,135 in late 2020. Saanich police have seen 760 reports of suspicious individuals so far in 2021 compared to 700 in the previous quarter. Calls for assistance also went up from 719 to 810, and Mental Health Act calls were up to 168 from 150. Missing person reports dropped from 177 to 147 and calls related to animals decreased to 263 from 389.

In Saanich, non-criminal incidents increased from 2,135 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 2,148 in early 2021. (Graph courtesy of the Saanich Police Department)

READ ALSO: Nearly 30 Saanich cars broken into in early November, most in Cordova Bay

Police reported a 38 per cent decrease in property and financial crimes in the first quarter as calls dropped from 564 in late 2020 to 283 in early 2021. In the three-month period, fraud reports dropped five per cent compared to 2020, bike thefts were down 44 per cent and break and enters were down 34 per cent from 68 to 45. According to police, a prolific offender who was targeting businesses in the municipality for property crimes was arrested by the street crime unit.

A 55 per cent drop in thefts from vehicles from 211 to 96 was also noted in the report.

Saanich police saw a 38 per cent decrease in property and financial crimes in the first quarter of 2021 with incidents dropping from 456 in late 2020 to 283. (Graph courtesy of the Saanich Police Department)

READ ALSO: More than half of Saanich’s 10 worst intersections include McKenzie Avenue

Traffic incidents were also down 19 per cent this quarter. Saanich saw motor vehicle incidents with injuries drop 36 per cent from 78 in late 2020 to 50 in early 2021, impaired driving incidents go down from 47 to 44 and 30 per cent fewer distracted driving occurrences as reports went from 111 to 79.

Saanich police reported that traffic incidents went down 19 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 with 297 incidents compared to 241 in the final quarter of 2020. (Graph courtesy of the Saanich Police Department)

Traffic suspensions, however, were up 10 per cent from 61 in late 2020 to 67 in early 2021. More than 580 electronic tickets were issued in the first quarter of 2021 by patrol officers.

Police also responded to one fatal collision on West Saanich Road on Feb. 4. None were reported between October and December 2020.

The total number of calls to the Saanich police went down four per cent, with 6,972 in the first three months of 2021 and 7,264 in the last three months of 2020.

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