The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP provided the fourth-quarter report to Duncan Council last night.

Inspector Chris Bear said calls for service decreased by eleven percent from 2019 to 2020 and calls for service in the quarter dropped by eight percent.

Annual calls for service:

  • 2019 – 22,720
  • 2020 – 20,203

Fourth-quarter calls for service (October – December):

  • 2019 – 5,182
  • 2020 – 4,758

Inspector Chris Bear said arson cases jumped by 188 percent in 2020, as compared to the year prior.

“Arsons for the quarter are up from three to six, for the year though, it was up to 49 from 17,” said Bear. “Just a really big increase in arsons, we’ve seen numerous suspicious structure fires, including the two from schools recently. One individual has been identified and charged for those offenses and is before the courts.”

The report highlights that these types of cases increased by four hundred percent within Cowichan Tribes in the last year.

  • 2019 – one case
  • 2020 – five cases

Bear said some of these arson cases were fatal.

“There were also two structure fires that resulted in fatalities, we’ve seen a number of fires being burned in alcoves near buildings, by playgrounds, equipment, as well as dumpster fires as well,” said Bear. “Some of them are believed to be warming fires and others are just arsonists, intentionally setting fires.”

In the City of Duncan, arson cases increased by more than two hundred percent year-over-year.

  • 2019 – four cases
  • 2020 – 13 cases

Cowichan Community Engagement and Policing Society (formerly South Island Community Policing) is a new service provider and Bear said, “We’re looking forward to the programs that they’re going to be rolling out in the near future.”

Click here to see the full RCMP report (pages 12-29).