Mapping out crime in Oak Bay

Police pinpoint hot spots for illegal activities, crashes

Detailed crime and motor vehicle incident map pinpoints police activities for a two-week period. It and separate maps for each type of incident are now available on the Oak Bay Police Department website.

Detailed crime and motor vehicle incident map pinpoints police activities for a two-week period. It and separate maps for each type of incident are now available on the Oak Bay Police Department website.

A break-in at a Cadboro Bay grocery store. A car crash on Henderson Road. Graffiti at Oak Bay Recreation Centre.

These incidents and more are represented by virtual pushpins on the Oak Bay Police Department’s newest public information tool.

Like other police agencies, Oak Bay PD keeps track of crime stats so it can distribute its resources appropriately.

The department is taking that process one step further by posting crime stat maps on its website.

It’s all part of keeping the public well-informed, says Deputy Chief Kent Thom.

“This will give residents in Oak Bay an opportunity to find out what is happening in their community,” he said. “We’re going to need the assistance of the public if we’re going to be as effective as we can possibly be.”

The maps track four different types of crime: break and enters, mischief, theft from vehicles and motor vehicle incidents. Thom said those specific crimes were chosen because they represent the “most significant” crimes that regularly occur in the municipality.

Individual maps for each crime are viewable while a fifth map provides an overview of all four.

Thom cited a rash of break-ins last summer as one reason the department chose to start publishing the information.

“There were a lot of inquiries with respect to where they were happening,” he said.

The Oak Bay department collaborated with counterparts in Saanich to collect the data, and the plan is to publish updated maps twice a month.

There are no plans to maintain an online archive and only the most recent maps will be posted to the department website.

The department will continue to look at ways to broaden the maps’ scope in future, Thom said.

“Providing more in-depth information other than just what’s happened in the last two weeks is definitely (a road) we’ll go down,” he said.

“This could change a few times over the next few weeks or months.”

reporter@vicnews.com