Sidney/North Saanich RCMP recorded a 17 per cent in calls involving mental health in 2020 compared to 2019. (Black Press Media File)

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP recorded a 17 per cent in calls involving mental health in 2020 compared to 2019. (Black Press Media File)

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP responded to more mental health calls during COVID-19 pandemic

Mental health calls rose 17 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019

COVID-19 has not caused “a significant change in crime trends” in Sidney and North Saanich but nonetheless led to more calls for service with mental health as a factor.

This assessment appears in a report from the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP detachment to Sidney council. It finds that the detachment handled 6,440 calls for service in 2020 in its coverage area, which includes Sidney, North Saanich, as well as Tsartlip, Tseycum, Pauquachin and Tsawout nations. This figure marks a drop of eight per cent compared to 2019.

“While B.C. is still amidst the COVID-19 crisis, data-to-date suggests that, unlike other jurisdictions, there has not been a significant change in crime trends,” the report reads. “There has, however, been a 17 per cent increase in calls where mental health is a factor.”

The report shows a relationship between the number of mental health calls and the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health calls “spiked” in the spring, then “normalized” in June and July only to spike again in August and September. As such, the number of mental health calls mirrored the rise and fall of COVID-19 case counts. This said, the number of mental health calls did not rise as cases rose again in final months of 2020 as the detachment recorded a 12 per cent in mental health calls during the fourth quarter. The report does not outline potential causes for the drop.

RELATED:Sidney homeless population drops to traditional levels after free transit ends

RELATED:Sidney/North Saanich RCMP to monitor to local homelessness

RELATED:Saanich Peninsula not immune to homelessness

RELATED: New community policing officer for Sidney/North Saanich taking proactive approach

The report also finds a 20 per cent increase in “public disorder occurrences” in 2020 compared to 2019. “These calls included complaints of panhandling, public intoxication, cause disturbances and property damage and unwanted persons.”

The report reiterates a finding from the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely that it has had a “huge impact” on vulnerable populations with effects on the Saanich Peninsula. “While the City of Victoria and BC Housing have worked to put much needed supports in place, there was, during this transition, an influx of vulnerable persons in Sidney/North Saanich.”

The report also finds officers responded to 95 calls for service where COVID-19 might have been a factor, with 50 falling under the federal quarantine act and 14 under provincial COVID-19 measures. The report finds these calls were typically complaints about vehicles with American licence plates in the area; individuals not following mask protocols or self-isolation rules. Two individuals received tickets for having violated COVID-19 restrictions.

The report notes that these calls required responders to take extra precautions such as using personal protection equipment and increased physical distancing among others. “ln some of these cases, members had to return to the detachment and decontaminate their clothing and themselves.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A provincially appointed consultant has recommended a change to the funding formula for the VicPD that will save Esquimalt a significant amount of money. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt to save a bundle on policing costs under new formula

Provincial consultant studied funding model, resource deployment for VicPD

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

A Victoria resident was scammed out of $1,700 after a fraudster impersonated a police officer and convinced the victim to pay a non-existent fine in Bitcoin. (Unsplash)
Fraudster impersonates Victoria police officer, steals $1,700 in Bitcoin

Phone call showed up as VicPD’s non-emergency line

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read