SUBMITTED BY Salt Spring RCMP
Salt Spring Island RCMP responded to 646 calls from January to March 31, 2021, including, but not limited to, five child pornography investigations, eight sexual assaults, 139 mental health complaints, various traffic violations and multiple COVID-19 complaints. Some 305 foot patrols in Ganges and Centennial Park and 85 licensed premises checks were also conducted during this period.
SSI RCMP are asking residents to be mindful of online and social media safety: naked pictures or videos sent to an individual or a website can immediately be placed on the internet for all to see, or for sex-based extortion (“sex-tortion”) by the recipient. Threats to post sexual photos/videos to all the contacts on a person’s Facebook page have been made to Salt Spring residents. Also, numerous online scams have been reported to local RCMP stemming from animals purchased over the internet and monies paid, but the animals are never sent. Police encourage residents to remain aware of fraudsters and online cheats.
Some of the calls of the last few months include the following:
• A COVID-19 ticket was issued for $2,300 after an illegal gathering was held.
• A male who was on court-ordered conditions to not be in the province of B.C. was found and arrested on Salt Spring Island; the male was also arrested for two acts of indecent exposure and an assault that also occurred on the island.
• Multiple abandoned campers and various vehicles were towed and subsequently taken to a salvage yard for destruction.
• A male who erected a tent and began camping on BC Ferries property was arrested for outstanding warrants from Victoria.
• Police were requested to conduct a well-being check on an individual; police were asked to go to their residence and “have a cup of tea with them.”
• The owner of a vacant lot on Salt Spring reported to police that unknown persons had cut down hundreds of trees on their property; police attended and observed multiple buildings that had been started using the fallen trees as walls and rafters. It is believed that multiple people were planning on building illegal cabins and squatting on private property.
• Ecological reserves had been met with unknown persons removing gates/locks/signage/boulders for individuals’ own access and land use; police continue to investigate.
• A report of a multi-child sexual assault was reported to police; the investigation is continuing.
• Police received a report of a male spray-painting traffic signs near downtown Ganges; the male has now been identified.
• Police initiated an investigation into an allegation of child abuse on the island.
• RCMP responded to a male who was high on drugs and armed with knives and a baseball bat stating that he wanted to kill people; members responded and took the male into custody without violence.
• An elderly female who could not remember her name, address, phone number or friends was located by police and returned to her residence.
• Two males broke into an unlocked residence; one local male was arrested and a warrant is being sought for the other off-island male.
• RCMP responded to a local ferry for a report of a male on board with a knife who wanted to die; police responded and apprehended the male before he could hurt himself, others or the police. He was then taken to Lady Minto Hospital for assessment.
• Police responded to a report of a young male who allegedly advertised he had multiple properties on Salt Spring and was willing to rent them out; police attended the youth’s only residence and discussed with him the legalities of asking women to send naked photos/videos of themselves to ensure the approval of their tenancy.
• Police responded to a report of a naked male throwing street signs at passing cars on Lower Ganges Road; police attended and, after discussion, the male donned his clothes and left the area peacefully.
• A cell phone was stolen from an unlocked car in downtown Ganges.
• By court order, RCMP assisted with removing a child from a parent.
• Police responded to a male known to police who had been banned from numerous businesses on Salt Spring for refusing to wear a mask while shopping; the situation was mediated and the male left the property.
• RCMP arrested an older male for sexual assaults after he allegedly exploited the needs of young women wanting housing on Salt Spring.
• Salt Spring RCMP assisted the BC SPCA with an animal negligence investigation.
• RCMP assisted the BC Coroners Service (BCCS) with found human remains. The area is a possible historic burial site and the discovery is not believed to be suspicious. The BCCS has maintained conduct of the investigation.
• An impaired driver was caught and his driver’s licence suspended.
• Reports of a suspicious male walking through various properties resulted in two foot chases and a 90-minute search of various woods and properties. The male was located and arrested by RCMP. Incidents of break and enter and theft at various locations were able to be attributed to the arrested male.
• Police responded to a gun call in Ganges Harbour where a shotgun was being fired at clay targets near vessels and island residences. Police spoke with the owner about the importance of shooting at safe distances and gun safety.
RCMP remind residents that crime, violence and illicit drug use occur here on Salt Spring, and that mental health calls are higher per capita than on Vancouver Island. Also, property crime, including theft (whether theft of animals or theft of vehicles/boats), mischief and break and enters continue to happen. Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant in locking their residences and their vehicle doors and to not leave their keys in the vehicle’s ignition.