Cranbrook police encourage the public to use the RCMP online crime reporting tool after a rise in thefts over the past several weeks.
Cranbrook RCMP say that there has been an increase in calls surrounding theft, and they have taken a suspect into custody.
Cst. Katie Forgeron with the Cranbrook RCMP says that it’s important for businesses and residents alike to report any suspicious activity and thefts, even if they’re small.
“The biggest thing is that we want the public to let us know if there is any sort of theft or break-ins happening at their homes or businesses. I think that some people think they are bothering us, they don’t want to bother the police, but if we don’t know – we can’t investigate.”
The online crime reporting tool is available to all residents and businesses, Forgeron says, or at the very least, call crime stoppers.
“I encourage anyone in the community to use the online crime reporting tool if there is any crime or theft that is not an emergency. It helps us greatly – for example, let’s say there’s a string of thefts reported on 11th Ave. We can see through the online tool and then we can concentrate our efforts there,” said Forgeron. “We are busy, but we don’t want people to hesitate to call or use the online tool. If anyone is uncomfortable with leaving their name or information they can absolutely call crime stoppers as well.”
The online crime reporting tool can be found at www.bc.rcmp.ca/cranbrook/report or you can call the local detachment at 250-489-3471. Residents can report the following crimes online:
– Damage/mischief to property under $5,000
– Damage/mischief to a vehicle under $5,000
– Hit and run to an unoccupied vehicle or property
– Theft of bicycle under $5,000
– Theft under $5,000
– Theft from vehicle under $5,000
– Lost property
Top Crop Garden Farm and Pet is one of the businesses that have taken to social media to share their frustrations.
Shannon Fisher, who owns and operates Top Crop, says it’s important for the community to stick together when things like this take place.
“I just wanted to put it out there for customers to keep an eye out for anything of ours that might be for sale. But I also wanted to get the business community to rally together. I spoke with the Chamber [of Commerce] and they said that there are so many other businesses experiencing theft right now. This has not been an easy year, and the business community is what keeps Cranbrook going. It’s just unsafe.”
Fisher explained that over the past several weeks the fenced in yard at Top Crop has been broken into numerous times.
After investigation and tips from the public, RCMP members attended a location and seized several plants which had been taken.
“It has become a weekly occurrence, our yard being broken into. Every three to four days or so. Everything from our staff’s coats and coffee mugs to topiaries, pots and nursery stock has been taken,” said Fisher, adding that it goes beyond items being stolen.
““This has basically been happening all winter and now into the spring. There was a homeless encampment behind our store on City property for quite some time. People were breaking in and stealing our wooden signs, pallets, other things to burn.
“They were eventually encouraged to move… and then when they disbanded we had to clean up after them. There was human waste, needles, syringes…hammers, saws, clothing. It’s a safety issue.”
Forgeron could not confirm that any theft has been connected to the homeless population in Cranbrook, but she says that the public should always come forward if they have names, camera footage or descriptions of the perpetrators.
“We are encouraging the public to always call us or use the online crime reporting tool,” Forgeron said. “So many businesses are wonderful about calling us and really support us in our efforts. But if we don’t know, we can’t help.”
With files from Trevor Crawley.
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