Township of Esquimalt: 2023 – 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 Esquimalt and one for Victoria), 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 (Esquimalt)

Calls for Service (Esquimalt)

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 calls are broken into six main categories: social order, violence, property, traffic, assist, and other.  For a list of calls within each of these call categories, please click here.

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

Esquimalt Total Calls for Service – By Category, Quarterly

Source: VicPD

Esquimalt Total 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 (Esquimalt)

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 Esquimalt.

Response Time – Esquimalt

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

Crime Rate (Esquimalt)

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 – Esquimalt

Source: Statistics Canada

Crime Severity Index (Esquimalt & Victoria)

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 – Esquimalt & Victoria

Source: Statistics Canada

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

Source: Statistics Canada

Crime Severity Index (Violent) – Esquimalt & Victoria

Source: Statistics Canada

Weighted Clearance Rate (Esquimalt)

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 (Esquimalt)

Source: Statistics Canada

Perception of Crime (Esquimalt)

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

Perception of Crime (Esquimalt)

Source: VicPD

Block Watch (Esquimalt)

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

Block Watch – Esquimalt

Source: VicPD

Public Satisfaction (Esquimalt)

Public satisfaction with VicPD (community and business survey data from 2022 as well as past community surveys): “Overall, how satisfied are you with the work of the Victoria Police?”

Public Satisfaction – Esquimalt

Source: VicPD

Perception of Accountability (Esquimalt)

Perception of accountability of VicPD officers from community and business survey data from 2022 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 – Esquimalt

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 are provincial government fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) i.e. “2020” 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

Esquimalt Community Information

Strategic Plan Highlights

Support Community Safety

VicPD supported community safety throughout 2023 with 38,289 responses to calls for service, as well as ongoing investigation of offenses. However, the severity of crime in VicPD’s jurisdiction (as measured by Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index), remained among the highest of municipally-policed jurisdictions in B.C., and well above the provincial average.

  • In January 2023, VicPD undertook a major restructure of our front-line operations, with significant positive impact. A mid-term review showed that Patrol overtime had decreased by 35%, sick days had decreased by 21% and charge submissions to Crown Counsel had increased by 15%.  
    In terms of response times, our new model has decreased response time for Priority 2, 3 and 4 calls each by more than 40%.  
    The new structure has reduced considerable pressures facing front-line operations and has resulted in better use of resources and better services for residents of Victoria and Esquimalt, including more proactive and community-based policing such as Project Downtown Connect and Project Lifter.
     
  • January 2023 also saw the launch of the Co-Response Team, which has had significant impact in response to calls with a mental health component.
  • In 2023, we also developed a new in-house system to allow both individuals and businesses to report non-emergency crimes with a user-friendly web form. This replaces an old system and saves $20,000 in annual licence fees, while creating a more positive and streamlined experience for users.

Enhance Public Trust

VicPD remains committed to earning and enhancing the public’s trust in our organization through the Open VicPD online information hub which allows citizens to access a wide range of information including community service results, quarterly Community Safety Report Cards, community updates and online crime mapping. As a measure of public trust, the 2023 VicPD Community Survey findings indicated that 82% of respondents in Victoria and Esquimalt were satisfied with VicPD’s service (equal to 2021 and 2022), and 69% agreed that they feel safe and taken care of by VicPD (equal to 2022).

  • In 2023, we launched Meet Your VicPD, designed to help citizens better connect with their police department.
  • We also established a Cultural Community Officer, who will help deepen community connections between VicPD and the diverse cultures we serve.
  • This year saw significant progress in the implementation of VicPD’s ceremonial canoe. Working closely with Indigenous partners, VicPD participated in a blessing ceremony for the canoe.
    We also worked with local trainers to prepare a cadre of sterners (both officers and civilian staff) to properly guide our paddlers while on the water. This training focused on the operation of the canoe and included a cultural competence component. The canoe and team participated in a totem raising ceremony this Fall.

Achieve Organizational Excellence

2023 was a year focused on recruiting and retention, including significant efforts to ensure the mental health and wellness of our officers. The impact of this effort is seen in our increase in deployable strength.

  • During the year we introduced an in-house psychologist, Occupational Stress Injury (OSI) Dog, and the Reintegration Sergeant. 
  • We’ve been working hard to adjust our new recruit selection process so that we can hire the best candidates efficiently. We’ve streamlined our selection process into fewer steps, leveraged technology so that it takes less time, and we now allow applicants to begin the process before completing the physical fitness test. It’s important to note that our fitness, medical, character and background check standards are still the same. 
  • In total, we welcomed 40 new staff members, including 16 new recruit officers, 5 experienced officers, 4 SMCs and 15 civilian staff.
  • We also implemented a new  Human Resources Information System (HRIS), which improves our selection, promotion and ongoing staff management processes. 

 

Welcoming New Faces 

In October, VicPD welcomed first Occupational Stress Intervention Dog, ‘Daisy.’ Daisy was donated to VicPD by Wounded Warriors Canada in partnership with VICD – BC & Alberta Guide Dogs who provided the training for Daisy and her handlers.  Daisy is trained to recognize when people are undergoing a stressful or traumatic experience, and she will be there to help relieve some of those feelings and provide comfort to those that need it – a key addition to the suite of programs to support the health and wellness of VicPD officers and staff. 

On November 10, five VicPD recruits graduated from the Justice Institute of B.C. and have begun serving the communities of Victoria and Esquimalt. One of the recruits won two individual awards for fitness and best overall performance for grades, attitude and leadership. 

Calls for Service

In Q4, calls for service in Esquimalt were down slightly from the busy Q3 summer period, but up over the same time period last year. Esquimalt saw another increase in calls for social order, an increasing trend over the year and significantly higher over the same time period last year. Calls for Traffic were also increased over last year, while calls for Property crime were down. 

Files of Note

File Number: 23-36588 A female was arrested for a break and enter when the neighbour called VicPD after hearing glass break. Responding members quickly attended, located the suspect in the residence, and seized three firearms unsafely stored inside.

File Number: 23-42957 Responding to a call for domestic violence where a person was reported to have a weapon, a police officer was kicked and sustained an injury.

Other files of note include details which cannot be shared at this time. 

Traffic Safety and Enforcement

Q4 saw continued efforts by our Traffic Section to focus on community safetyThey conducted proactive work in the following three areas:  impaired driving, school zone education/enforcement, and high visibility at a number of intersections and locations which have been of concern to community members.  

 

Community Wellbeing

Following the October 7 attacks in Israel and the subsequent activity in Gaza, VicPD began providing an enhanced visible presence during worship and memorial activities, and meeting regularly with Jewish and Muslim communities to hear and address safety concerns. These meetings are ongoing as the conflict continues and demonstration activity increases across the country.  

Anti-Gang Presentations

In order to curb rising gang recruitment in Greater Victoria schools, the municipal police agencies in the CRD collaborated on and delivered several ‘anti-gang’ presentationsThe presentations are designed to educate and inform local parents and to provide strategies to help insulate their children from this concerning trend Presenters included major crime detectives, analysis & intelligence experts, MYST, and former school liaison officers.

Infrastructure Security

Insp. Brown continues to provide lockdown and security procedures for local infrastructure. In the wake of the October 7 attack in Israel, Insp. Brown worked with several places of worship to develop and enhance their procedures.

Volunteers and Reserves in the Community 

As the Fall mornings and evenings started getting darker and road conditions more unpredictable, VicPD volunteers continued to conduct speed watch in school zones across Victoria and Esquimalt.  

Safety Tips 

VicPD continued crime prevention efforts by educating the public through information campaigns and social media posts. Due to a rise in online sales frauds, tips were provided for conducting safer online sales. Additionally, during Pedestrian Safety month in October, VicPD provided safety tips for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Impaired Driving Counter-Attack 

In December, VicPD’s Traffic Division launched targeted roadblocks to combat impaired driving during the holidays. With just four days of roadblocks, VicPD officers took 21 impaired drivers off the roads, including 10 90-day driving prohibitions. Safety messaging was shared across social media channels.  

Poppy Campaign

Inspector Brown and several officers from Esquimalt Division assisted with canvassing for the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Poppy Campaign.

Remembrance Day

Deputy Chief Jason Laidman, Inspector Conor King and a contingent of VicPD officers attended the Remembrance Day ceremony in Memorial Park. 

Volunteer Recognition  

VicPD Volunteers and Reserves were recognized with a thank-you dinner held at CFB Esquimalt. In total, approximately 73 Volunteers and 70 Reserves contributed 14,455 hours of service supporting community safety in Victoria and Esquimalt in 2023, the highest number of hours in the past five years. We also welcomed 14 new volunteers to VicPD in November.  

Image credits: Royal Bay Photography

Esquimalt Celebration of Lights

Chief Del Manak, Deputy Chief Jamie McRae and Inspector Mike Brown, along with members of Esquimalt Division, Reserves and Volunteers participated in the annual Celebration of Lights parade on December 3.

VicPD’s Holiday Card Contest

Kids of VicPD officers, staff, volunteers and reserves were asked to submit artwork for the 7th annual VicPD Holiday Greetings card contest. A total of 16 drawings were received from children aged 5 – 12 years old. We narrowed it down to our top 3, and held a public vote to select the winner. The winning artwork was featured as 2023’s official VicPD Holiday Greetings card. ⁠

Esquimalt Seniors’ Christmas Luncheon

On December 8, Chief Del Manak, Inspector Mike Brown and Cst Ian Diack attended the Esquimalt Seniors’ Christmas Luncheon at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre.

Esquimalt Lions Christmas Hampers

On December 22, Sgt Hollingsworth and Anna Mickey worked with the Esquimalt Lions to prepare and deliver Christmas food hampers to those in need in the Township. VicPD also donated boxes of toys for The Salvation Army’s Christmas Toy Drive. 

The preliminary financial forecast for the end of 2023 is an operating deficit of approximately $746,482, primarily due to retirement expenditures, which shall be charged against the Employee Benefit Obligation, as well as several operational budget items still under consideration by the Province under Section 27(3) of the Police Act. Although most year-end procedures are complete, the actual amount may change as the City completes the year-end audit and actuarial assessment of employee liabilities. Capital expenditures were $381,564 below budget, resulting in a net contribution of approximately $100,000 to the capital reserve. $228,370 was also drawn down from the Financial Stability Reserve for the costs of a budgeted and significant investigation.