Update from Sergeant Mike Spencer,Guildford/Fleetwood Community Response Unit, RCMP.
I hope that everyone in Fraser Heights who I have come to know over the past couple of years are coping well during these trying times.
I have just finished going over the results of the March and April statistics for Fraser Heights, and I thought I would share the findings with you. Please feel free to share them with anyone in Fraser Heights who might be interested in them. I have tried to break them down to make sense to anyone reading them, while painting an accurate picture… without going into so much detail that people stop reading (a problem I often create!!)
I have also attached to this the Surrey RCMP’s 2019 Report to the Community, which was literally just released to the public today. (Note: this could not be attached, but if you are interested in a copy, please email: Surrey_Webmaster@rcmp-grc.gc.ca with the subject line: 2019 Report to the Community).
You can also make this document available to everyone in Fraser Heights, if you feel so inclined.
As far as the statistics go for Fraser Heights over the full two calendar months of March & April, 2020, there was the following reported to the Surrey RCMP:
A total of two (2) Residential B&E’s were reported
- One was to an unoccupied new house under construction where the suspect was scared off by an alarm system and fled immediately after tripping it. Nothing was stolen. The other was a male who literally walked into an unlocked basement door during the evening, spoke to the person in the house, and then left. It is unclear to the homeowner and the Surrey RCMP if this person was confused, suffering from mental issues, or actually looking to commit a crime in the house. There was a time delay in this being reported to the RCMP and police were unable to locate and question the subject of complaint.
A total of four (4) Cars were reported stolen from Fraser Heights
- Two of these cars were stolen with keys – one of the sets of keys being found by the suspect when he broke into the car next to it in the same driveway. Of the four stolen cars, two were recovered in Ridge Meadows, and another was recovered in Abbotsford. The RCMP Forensic Unit located fingerprints in two of these vehicles upon recovery and the investigations for those are ongoing. None of these cars had any anti-theft devices being used, other than the two that were stolen with keys – unfortunately the built-in anti-theft device in these cars are thwarted when the suspect is able to use the keys.
A total of eleven (11) Thefts From Auto were reported where a suspect(s) entered a vehicle with the intent to steal
- Six of these TFA’s occurred to vehicles that had been left unlocked. In one incident the suspect actually entered the victim’s car after the owner had started the engine and left it insecure and unoccupied while they went back into the house. Luckily the suspect opted to not steal the entire car – instead just all of the valuables that had just been loaded into it.
- Five of these files had suspect(s) use forced-entry to get to an item visibly left inside the vehicle (gym bag, wallet, sports equip, tools, and bottles of alcohol).
- Of note; in almost every TFA, the common item that was stolen were sunglasses.
A total of six (6) licence plates were reported stolen.
- Although it is common for it to not be known exactly when or where the theft occurred, usually the registered-owner’s address gets used for the location of theft when it comes to these files. I address this issue later on in this email.
A total of five (5) Catalytic Converters were reported stolen. For those of you not familiar with Catalytic Converters, I have provided you with a brief description.
The catalytic converter is a part of a vehicle’s exhaust system,
meant to reduce pollutants. The part largely attracts criminals because
it contains precious metals that can be sold for cash,
and the theft can take less than a minute.
The work to retrieve them from people’s vehicles is relatively low
and usually involves them having to crawl under a vehicle,
much like a mechanic, with a cutting tool.
- This is an unusually high number of thefts of this nature to occur in a residential neighbourhood – although it should be noted that all but one occurred in the area surrounding the small patch of ‘industrial’ found within Fraser Heights (17300 104 Ave) and the other Catalytic Converter theft was believed to occur at the Park & Ride located at 160th St & 104 Ave. This is much more consistent with what we see when we experience these types of problems.
- Due to video surveillance provided by one of the victims, the Surrey RCMP were able to identify the culprit in at least one of the reported incidents and, due to the proximity of these events, we believe he is the suspect for at least 4 of the 5 thefts. Without divulging too much information, I can tell you that this individual was subsequently targeted by the Surrey RCMP Property Crime Target Team and charges have/are being laid. I can say with confidence that this accused is no longer targeting your area.
A total of zero (0) ‘stranger assaults’ were reported.
If I was presenting this information to the residents at a FHCA Meeting, I would laud the residents with praise for a job well done. These statistics pale in comparison to most other residential areas of the city (and lower mainland for that matter) and are obviously a fraction of what we were seeing at this time last year. The preventative measures being undertaken by FH residents is definitely paying off.
That being said – I agree that we can make them even lower! We are still being reminded by our common criminal who likes to take advantage of opportunities afforded to him or her, that when preventative measures are not being taken, it can sometimes come back to bite us. In sifting through these files, what stuck out to me (as I have often said) is the theme between items being stolen from a vehicle and the vehicle being left unlocked. Furthermore, when force is used to enter a vehicle (usually by breaking a window), there was always something visible within the vehicle that the suspect was likely targeting.
We continue to get ZERO reports of secured vehicles being broken into where nothing of significant value or size was taken. This is a very telling indication that criminals who walk, ride, or drive the streets in Fraser Heights are looking for the quick & easy opportunities afforded to them.
I would further point out that it would appear that there is a recent phenomenon of licence plates being targeted – or at least were up until the middle of April. This MAY go hand-in-hand with the Catalytic Converter thefts. It is very difficult to protect your vehicle from this type of theft, although there are special screws available that only easily screw on, but are very difficult to unscrew. That being said, licence plates by design are made with light weight aluminum that is very easy to bend and manipulate. Someone stealing a licence plate can do so within seconds of being at the vehicle – taking a little longer if they are actually ‘properly’ unscrewing it.
Please keep in mind that someone’s motivation to steal a licence plate is usually to conceal the true identity of the vehicle they are using to commit other crimes – so that sooner you notice your plate stolen and the sooner report it to the RCMP – the way better off we are. Please also keep in mind that often the suspect will ‘swap’ your plate with another – so it is not always easy to notice when your plate has been stolen. Please memorize your licence plate and try to make a conscious effort to verify it every time you approach your car to drive somewhere.
Lastly, as someone who worked with the Surrey RCMP Autotheft team for many, many years – I will always remind you that a little anti-theft goes a long way. Many, if not most, of you own vehicles that have built in anti-theft technology in the way of an immobilizer. Since 2007 all cars in Canada are required to be manufactured with an immobilizer, and many manufacturers were making them standard equipment prior to that. Needless to say, if someone can get access to your keys – it totally defeats the benefits of the immobilizer. Keep your keys safe & secure!
If you own a vehicle that does not have an immobilizer, then I would recommend an after-market anti-theft device, whether it be an installed immobilizer, or something along the lines of a steering wheel club. Thefts with these anti-theft devices being properly used, are extremely rare.
Changing gears here a bit – I would like to remind everyone that the Surrey RCMP continues to deploy a Covid Compliance Enforcement Team. This unit is responsible for proactively ensuring that people in our city are adhering to the rules put in place by our Medical Health Officer. This team will also respond to related complaints that are called in to the Surrey RCMP. With ‘Phase II’ just being introduced, there will undoubtedly be some people who are either confused, or looking to take liberties with the new set of rules. If you observe any issues that you think would benefit from this team attending, regardless of whether it’s a commercial location or residential, please don’t hesitate to call our non-emergency number at (604)599-0502 to report the incident.
I was asked a few weeks ago if there was a rise in crime in Fraser Heights – and the reason the question was being asked was because the ‘asker” had been noticed that there seemed to be more RCMP cars being seen in Fraser Heights than usual. For those of you who are not aware, the Surrey RCMP has taken numerous measures to ensure that the city is getting a quality level of policing service throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic. Without going into too many boring details, all members of the Surrey RCMP have not taken any of their allotted ‘leave time’ (a.k.a. holidays) since the pandemic started – and they will continue to not be taking any Leave at least until the summer – at which time the need for this restriction will be reevaluated. Furthermore, other measures have been taken, along with redirecting units whose workload has been affected by the Pandemic (School Resource Officers, for example) to work with the Frontline Officers to bolster their resources. These factors and sacrifices have lead to what you are seeing – a higher policing presence throughout the city as our members conduct their proactive patrols. I can say without hesitation that the Surrey RCMP Frontline Police Officers have done an incredible job at working in the bizarre environment that we find ourselves in right now and they are out in full force catching more ‘bad guys’ than ever.
I thank you for your time and I look forward to when I can see everyone’s faces again – and answer everyone’s questions in person !!
I hope you will consider posting this information for all Fraser Heights Residents to see and, as noted, please see the attached Surrey RCMP Report to the Community – I hope you find it an informative and interesting read.
Stay safe and stay healthy,
Sergeant Mike Spencer, Regimental 46334
Guildford/Fleetwood Community Response Unit
Surrey RCMP – District 2 Commander
10395 148 St, Surrey, BC, V3R 6S4
Cell (604)314-4082 Desk (778)593-3396