City of Victoria: 2021 – Q4

As part of our ongoing Open VicPD transparency initiative, we introduced Community Safety Report Cards as a way to keep everyone up to date with how the Victoria Police Department is serving the public.  These report cards, which are published quarterly in two community-specific versions (one for Victoria and one for Esquimalt), offer both quantitative and qualitative information about crime trends, operational incidents, and community engagement initiatives.  It is hoped that, through this proactive sharing of information, our citizens have a better understanding of how VicPD is working toward its strategic vision of “A Safer Community Together.

Description

Charts (Victoria)

Calls for Service (Victoria)

Call for Service (CFS) are requests for services from, or reports to the police department that generate any action on the part of the police department or partner agency performing work on behalf of the police department (such as E-Comm 9-1-1).

CFS include recording a crime/incident for reporting purposes. CFS are not generated for proactive activities unless the officer generates a specific CFS report.

The types of CFS are broken into six main categories as follows:

  • Social order – call types include disturbance, man down, unwanted person, etc.
  • Violence – call types include assault, sexual assault, robbery, etc.
  • Property – call types include break and enters, theft from vehicles, theft of vehicles, etc.
  • Traffic – call types include collision response, impaired driving and other traffic offences.
  • Assist – call types include requests to assist BC Emergency Health Services paramedics, Parole, other police departments, etc.
  • Other – calls are those which do not fit into the categories above.

Annual trends show a decrease in total CFS in 2019 and 2020. Since January 2019, abandoned calls, which are included in the total number of calls and can often generate a police response, are no longer captured by the E-Comm 911/Police Dispatch Centre in the same way. This has significantly reduced the total number of CFS.  Also, policy changes with regard to abandoned 911 calls from cell phones occurred in July 2019, further reducing these CFS totals.  Additional factors that have reduced the number of 911 calls include increased education and changes to cell phone design so that emergency calls could no longer be activated by a one-button push.

These important changes are reflected in the following abandoned 911 call figures, which are included in the displayed CFS totals and are largely responsible for the recent decrease in total CFS:

2016 = 8,409
2017 = 7,576
2018 = 8,554
2019 = 4,411
2020 = 1,296

Victoria Calls for Service – By Category, Quarterly

Source: VicPD

Victoria Calls for Service – By Category, Annually

Source: VicPD

VicPD Jurisdiction Calls for Service – Quarterly

Source: VicPD

VicPD Jurisdiction Calls for Service – Annually

Source: VicPD

Crime Incidents – VicPD Jurisdiction

Number of Crime Incidents (VicPD Jurisdiction)

  • Violent Crime Incidents
  • Property Crime Incidents
  • Other Crime Incidents

These charts reflect the most available data from Statistics Canada. The charts will be updated when new data is available.

Crime Incidents – VicPD Jurisdiction

Source: Statistics Canada

Response Time (Victoria)

Response time is defined as the time that elapses between the time a call is received to the time the first officer arrives on scene.

Charts reflect median response times for the following Priority One and Priority Two calls in Victoria.

Response Time – Victoria

Source: VicPD
NOTE: Times are displayed in minutes and second. For example, “8.48” indicates 8 minutes and 48 seconds.

Crime Rate (Victoria)

The crime rate, as published by Statistics Canada, is the number of Criminal Code violations (excluding traffic offences) per 100,000 population.

  • Total Crime (excluding traffic)
  • Violent Crime
  • Property Crime
  • Other Crime

Data Updated | For all data up to and including 2019, Statistics Canada reported VicPD’s data for its combined jurisdiction of Victoria and Esquimalt. Beginning in 2020, StatsCan is separating that data for both communities. Therefore, the charts for 2020 do not display data for past years as direct comparisons are not possible with this change of methodology. As data is added over successive years, however, year-to-year trends will be displayed.

These charts reflect the most available data from Statistics Canada. The charts will be updated when new data is available.

Crime Rate – Victoria

Source: Statistics Canada

Crime Severity Index (Victoria & Esquimalt)

The crime severity index (CSI), as published by Statistics Canada, measures both the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada.  In the index, all crimes are assigned a weight by Statistics Canada based on their seriousness.  The level of seriousness is based on actual sentences handed down by the courts in all provinces and territories.

This chart shows the CSI for all municipal police services in BC as well as the provincial average for all police services.  For VicPD’s jurisdiction, the CSI for the City of Victoria and the Township of Esquimalt are shown separately, which is a feature that was first introduced with the release of 2020 data.  For historic CSI figures that show combined CSI data for VicPD’s jurisdiction of both Victoria and Esquimalt, click here VicPD 2019 Crime Severity Index (CSI).

These charts reflect the most available data from Statistics Canada. The charts will be updated when new data is available.

Crime Severity Index – Victoria & Esquimalt

Source: Statistics Canada

Crime Severity Index (Non-Violent) – Victoria & Esquimalt

Source: Statistics Canada

Crime Severity Index (Violent) – Victoria & Esquimalt

Source: Statistics Canada

Weighted Clearance Rate (Victoria)

Clearance rates represent the proportion of criminal incidents solved by the police.

Data Updated | For all data up to and including 2019, Statistics Canada reported VicPD’s data for its combined jurisdiction of Victoria and Esquimalt. Beginning in 2020 data, StatsCan is separating that data for both communities. Therefore, the charts for 2020 do not display data for past years as direct comparisons are not possible with this change of methodology. As data is added over successive years, however, year-to-year trends will be displayed.

These charts reflect the most available data from Statistics Canada. The charts will be updated when new data is available.

Weighted Clearance Rate – Victoria

Source: Statistics Canada

Perception of Crime (Victoria)

Community and business survey data from 2021 as well as past community surveys: “Do you think that crime in Victoria has increased, decreased or remained the same during the last 5 years?”

Perception of Crime  – Victoria

Source: VicPD

Block Watch (Victoria)

This chart shows the numbers of active blocks in the VicPD Block Watch program.

Block Watch – Victoria

Source: VicPD

Public Satisfaction (Victoria)

Public satisfaction with VicPD (community and business survey data from 2021 as well as past community surveys): “Overall, how satisfied are you with the work of the Victoria Police?”

Public Satisfaction – Victoria

Source: VicPD

Perception of Accountability (Victoria)

Perception of accountability of VicPD officers from community and business survey data from 2021 as well as past community surveys: “Based on your own personal experience, or what you may have read or heard, please indicate whether you agree or disagree that the Victoria Police is accountable.”

Perception of Accountability – Victoria

Source: VicPD

Documents Released to the Public

These charts show the number of community updates (news releases) and reports published, as well the number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests that are released.

Documents Released to the Public

Source: VicPD

FOI Documents Released

Source: VicPD

Overtime Costs (VicPD)

  • Investigation and specialized units (This includes investigations, specialized units, protests and other)
  • Staff shortage (Cost associated with replacing absent staff, normally for last minute injury or illness)
  • Statutory holiday (Mandatory overtime costs for staff working Statutory Holidays)
  • Recovered (This is related to special duties and overtime for seconded specialty units where all costs are recovered from outside funding resulting in no additional cost to VicPD)

Overtime Costs (VicPD) in dollars ($)

Source: VicPD

Public Safety Campaigns (VicPD)

The number of public safety campaigns initiated by VicPD and those local, regional, or national campaigns supported by, but not necessarily initiated by VicPD.

Public Safety Campaigns (VicPD)

Source: VicPD

Police Act Complaints (VicPD)

Total files opened by the Professional Standards office. Open files do not necessarily result in an investigation of any type. (Source: Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner)

  • Admissible registered complaints (complaints resulting in a formal Police Act investigation)
  • Number of reported substantiated investigations (Police Act investigations that resulted in one or more counts of misconduct being established)

Police Act Complaints (VicPD)

Source: Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner of BC
NOTE: Dates below are provincial government fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) i.e. “2019” indicates April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

Case Load per Officer (VicPD)

The average number of criminal files assigned to each officer.  The average is calculated by dividing the total number of files by the authorized strength of the police Department (Source: Police Resources in BC, Province of British Columbia).

This chart reflects the latest data available. The charts will be updated when new data is available.

Case Load per Officer (VicPD)

Source: Police Resources in BC

Time Loss in Shifts (VicPD)

VicPD’s operational effectiveness can be, and has been, affected by having employees unable to work. The loss of time recorded in this chart includes both physical and mental health injuries which occur in the workplace. This does not include time lost for off-duty injury or illness, parental leave, or leaves of absence. This chart shows this time loss in terms of shifts lost by both officers and civilian employees by calendar year.

Time Loss in Shifts (VicPD)

Source: VicPD

Deployable Officers (% of total strength)

This is the percentage of officers who are fully deployable to policing duties with no restrictions.

Please note: This is a Point-in-Time calculation each year, as the actual number fluctuates widely throughout the year.

Deployable Officers (% of total strength)

Source: VicPD

Volunteer / Reserve Constable Hours (VicPD)

This is the number of volunteer hours annually performed by volunteers and Reserve Constables.

Volunteer / Reserve Constable Hours (VicPD)

Source: VicPD

Training Hours per Officer (VicPD)

Average training hours is calculated by the total number of hours of training divided by the authorized strength.  All training is accounted for including training related to specialized positions such as the Emergency Response Team, and off-duty training required under the Collective Agreement.

Training Hours per Officer (VicPD)

Source: VicPD

Source: VicPD

Victoria Community Information

The Victoria Police Department’s accomplishments, opportunities, and challenges from 2021 are best highlighted through the three main strategic goals of VicPD as outlined in our strategic plan.

Support Community Safety

VicPD supported community safety throughout 2021 through proactive police work, response to calls for service, and investigation of offences.  VicPD responded to 51,462 calls for service in 2021, which was on par with the total from the previous year.  However, the severity of crime in VicPD’s jurisdiction (as measured by Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index, remained the highest of municipally-policed jurisdictions in BC and well above the provincial average.  In addition, VicPD’s ability to respond to the volume and severity of calls was challenged significantly in 2021 due to a continuing trend of officer injuries due to both physical and mental health causes.

Enhance Public Trust

VicPD remains committed to earning and enhancing the public’s trust in our organization.  To that end, VicPD expanded its Open VicPD online information hub in 2021, allowing citizens to access a wide range of information including our strategic plan, community survey results, the VicPD Community Dashboard, our quarterly Community Safety Reports Cards, community updates, and online crime mapping.  In 2021, the Open VicPD portal was visited 50,048 times by members of the community.  As a measure of public trust, the 2021 VicPD Community Survey findings indicated that 82% of respondents in Victoria and Esquimalt were satisfied with VicPD’s service (down 4% from 2020).

Achieve Organizational Excellence

The primary focus for VicPD in 2021 as it relates to organizational improvements was managing the number of officer injuries that continue to affect service delivery, community expectations, and officer well-being.  Efforts to address this issue were escalated in 2021, including a review of the types of calls to which VicPD responds, our process for returning officers to work after recovery, and a renewed emphasis on recruiting,  The percentage of deployable officers remained at the 83% (TBC) level in 2021 (no change from 2020), with officers missing 3,568 shifts due to physical and mental health injuries which occurred in the workplace (up 6% from 2020).

VicPD continues to make progress towards our three main strategic goals outlined in VicPD Strategic Plan 2020.  Specifically, in Q3, the following goal-specific work was accomplished:

Support Community Safety

  • The Patrol Division continues to manage a heavy call load despite staffing shortages, but remains hopeful that additional resources are forthcoming.
  • Despite ongoing staffing challenges, the Community Services Division has completed a number of proactive projects that include drug and property crime investigations as well as a visible presence in the most affected areas.
  • Volunteer programs, including Crime Watch, Cell Watch, and Speed Watch, have been temporarily suspended due to public health restrictions.

Enhance Public Trust

  • As staffing levels allow, all sections within the Community Services Division continue to engage our communities through proactive patrols, virtual community meetings, and projects.
  • VicPD remains committed to ongoing and meaningful public engagement and dialogue, issuing 103 community updates in Q4 for a total of 517 in 2021.
  • Public health orders have resulted in the periodic closure of the front counters in both Victoria and Esquimalt, but services have been moved online as much as possible to avoid service disruptions to the community.

Achieve Organizational Excellence

  • In Q4, VicPD entered into constructive discussions with the councils of Victoria and Esquimalt regarding the department’s 2022 budget request and associated resource requirements.
  • To meet ongoing call response demands, seven VicPD officers were redeployed to the Patrol Division from other assignments while recruiting initiatives continue.
  • VicPD received the results of a mental health and well-being survey of our workforce, the key findings of which are being reviewed and analyzed.

Q4 saw the continued impact of assaults on officers and the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19 on the Victoria Police Department. To meet ongoing call response demands, seven VicPD officers were redeployed to the Patrol Division from other assignments while recruiting initiatives continue. To further combat absences, VicPD announced a $20,000 hiring incentive to attract experienced police officers on November 9th.

Q4 also saw additional assaults on officers, including officers who were bitten and kicked while responding to separate mental health calls, an officer suffering a head injury after he was attacked during an apprehension and an officer dragged the wrong way down Pandora Avenue by a vehicle after stopping an impaired driver. One of the injured officers helped save a life by successfully intervening in a self-harm attempt that he observed while being driven home from hospital treatment for his injuries.

Investigative Services Division made two arrests in two significant sexual assault investigations. Both investigations involve multiple survivors and involve local businesses. After arresting a masseur in May 2021, Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives, believing there to be more survivors, invited those with information who had not yet come forward to police to do so. The masseur faces nine additional sexual assault charges. A nearly year-long investigation into a series of reports of sexualized violence associated to a downtown Victoria bar and grill saw the suspect arrested by SVU detectives in December, with multiple charges sworn in January.

Violent offences continued to rise in Q4, with a man being arrested after committing a suspected 10 robberies in the Greater Victoria area in 8 days. An Esquimalt man was charged in a homicide. The quarter also saw a series of arsons in James Bay and an assault on a government minister outside the Victoria Legislature.

Protests continued into Q4, with several events blocking traffic and causing disruption. A protest at the Legislature in response to Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit in response to flooding in BC ended in arrests for vandalism to the buildings, and an investigation into additional vandalism of the BC Law Enforcement Memorial bastion on the Legislature grounds a short time later.

Victoria crime made international news after a man attempting to break into an ATM asked the two people behind him for help, not realizing that they were VicPD officers.

Citizens rose to the occasion to help those in need with a BC Transit Operator spotting a high-risk missing senior, and citizens on scene and online coming to the aid of a young woman struck in a hit and run crash while crossing at Bay and Blanshard streets. Not only witnesses immediately move to help the young woman, but thousands of shares and views online led to the location and identification of the suspect vehicle. This investigation is still ongoing.

For more notable files, please visit our community updates page.

As COVID-19 numbers continued to lower during the first two-thirds of the quarter, VicPD began to be able to return to more in-person engagement. While online engagements continued with the final two sessions of the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee sessions with BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ community members on the future of stronger police-community relationships, officers, staff and volunteers were thankful to return to making in-person connections.

The Tour de Rock returned in a modified format, raising over $500,000 for kids with cancer. VicPD and Restorative Justice Victoria celebrated Restorative Justice Week by centering the voices of restorative justice participants- both victims and offenders. Officers took to the roads in partnership with ICBC to help keep roads safe from impaired drivers.

VicPD also partnered with the Victoria Humane Society Animal Rescue for a “puppy visit” that saw frontline officers able to cuddle with puppies up for adoption while photos featuring the loveably pups were taken. This offered officers an opportunity to take a few moments to pause, decompress, and take a short mental health break. After images of the officers and the puppies were posted online, all of the puppies were adopted into loving homes.

Remembrance Day saw Chief Manak and Deputy Chief Laidman lay a wreath of remembrance in VicPD’s Hall of Honour and at the Esquimalt Cenotaph, as we honoured both VicPD veterans and all those who have served to help protect Canada.

The holiday season saw a joyful return to in-person parades in both Victoria and Esquimalt. The Peninsula Co-op Truck Lights Parade and the Esquimalt Celebration of Lights parade saw VicPD Reserves, volunteers, vehicles, officers, staff and Chief Manak all sharing the holiday spirit with citizens on the streets of the City of Victoria and the Township of Esquimalt.

At the close of the quarter, traffic safety became the focus as winter weather meant nearly two weeks of winter driving conditions in the region. The rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 at the end of the quarter unfortunately meant a retreat from in-person engagements, a pause on volunteer shifts and the temporary closure of the front counters.

VicPD Block Watch update

There are 177 active groups in the VicPD Block Watch program, 138 of these groups are in Victoria.

The 2021 launch of the VicPD Block Watch program in the Downtown Victoria neighbourhood has not been as successful as we hoped. Despite receiving numerous inquiries from prospective businesses and residences, only one new group in the Downtown neighbourhood has signed up.

We are currently in an active recruiting campaign for participants to sign up from Victoria. Since October 2021, VicPD volunteers have been out delivering brochures to the homes of inactive Block Watch groups in an effort to re-instate them into the program.

Once pandemic restrictions are lifted and our volunteer programs are up and running again, our volunteers will continue with this recruiting campaign. To date, the brochures have been well received, resulting in positive feedback and program inquiries. To that effect, we have already begun the application process for some new groups. Therefore, we are anticipating an increase in program participation for 2022.

To follow our campaigns and engage in the conversation, join us on twitter!

The City of Victoria is currently finalizing year end entries and the final audited numbers may differ slightly. At the end of the fiscal year we expect a moderate surplus of around $200,000. Contributing factors include high staff turnover and work related injuries, resulting in vacant positions and unfilled shifts. Communications were below budget due to realized savings, travel and training due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions. These were offset by overages in insurance, software licensing and sanitary expenditures. Capital expenditures were approximately $300,000 below budget due to shipping delays.

It was also requested that VicPD provide a summary of hours and costs that VicPD spends with patients apprehended under the Mental Health Act at Island Health facilities. The following is a summary of those hours and costs by quarter for 2021:

Hospital Wait Times
  Hours Average Rate1 Salary Benefits2 Total Cost
Q1 295.17 54.561 16,104.77 4,428.81 20,533.58
Q2 414.77 54.561 22,630.27 6,223.32 28,853.59
Q3 312.83 54.561 17,068.32 4,693.79 21,762.10
Q4 356.23 54.561 19,436.27 5,344.97 24,781.24
Total 1379 54.561 75,239.62 20,690.90 95,930.51
1. Based on 10 year Constable
2. Load rate of 27.5%