Whitehorse break ins have tripled since last year

Whitehorse RCMP say there have been over three times as many break-ins to local businesses and organizations this year as there were by the same time in 2014.

Whitehorse RCMP say there have been over three times as many break-ins to local businesses and organizations this year as there were by the same time in 2014.

By July 30, there had been 59 reported break-and-enters in Whitehorse, up from just 17 on the same day last year.

“The increase in the numbers is alarming,” Cst. Julia Fox wrote in an email to the News. She said the RCMP don’t know why there has been such a spike in recent months, but she speculated that one person or a group of people might be responsible for multiple break-ins.

Charges have only been laid in eight of the 59 break-and-enters this year. Ronald Ridgeway has been charged with breaking into Northern Industrial Sales on June 10 and Yukon Honda on June 14. He is also charged with theft under $5,000 during the first incident and theft over $5,000 during the second incident.

A second man, Richard Linklater, has been convicted of possession of property obtained by crime in a separate incident.

Youths have been charged in the other five cases. David Gilbert, the RCMP’s director of organizational strategy, said no information about the youths can be revealed, but it’s “highly likely” that the same youths were involved in multiple incidents.

“It’s often the case that if a kid’s getting in trouble for one thing, they’ve often done more than one,” he said.

Fox said 11 of the remaining files are still open for investigation, but most of the rest have been closed in the absence of new information.

Fox said the police are doing what they can to respond to break-ins, but there is a limited number of officers on duty at any given time, and they have to prioritize crimes against people.

“At this stage, they’re doing the best that they can with what they have,” she said. “We encourage the public to do what they can… to look out for their community.”

Joanne Henry, the executive director of the Committee on Abuse In Residential Schools Society, said she’s taken measures into her own hands to beef up security at her organization.

A thief broke into CAIRS last month and stole about $3,000, along with a number of possessions including a cheque book, a laptop, four sleeping bags, and a drum.

After the incident, someone contacted Henry to say that the person who’d stolen the goods wanted to give them back. But that never happened.

“I’m really choked, I’ve got to say,” she said. “We absolutely can’t take people out on the land anymore. We can’t go out and drop another $1,500 on bedrolls.

“They didn’t steal from CAIRS. They took it from residential school survivors that come to us for help.”

Since the break-in, she’s decided to install a full security system.

“Now everyone’s going to be monitored,” she said. “We never wanted any of that stuff. Now we have it, all thanks to the individual who took all our stuff.”

But not everyone can take such measures. Miranda Tippett, co-owner of Sweetness Bakery, said she’s not planning to change much after her store was broken into last week.

“I don’t have cameras everywhere,” she said. “It’s 400 square feet. I’m not locked down like a bank.”

Tippett said she’s recently noticed more young people wandering the downtown streets, drinking and doing drugs. She said the city could consider a curfew to make the city safer, but added that the real problem is a lack of activities for youths.

“You can prevent these sort of things from happening by giving the kids more opportunities to do other things,” she said.

Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the current economic climate is partly responsible for the higher number of break-ins.

“When you have high unemployment and you have a decline in the economy, this is what happens,” he said. “There are people who get desperate.”

Karp said business owners can come to the Chamber of Commerce for an assessment of how secure their businesses are, and for suggestions about what to improve.

Fox said installing security cameras is a good way to discourage crime. But she said there are small things businesses can do that will make a difference. Those include not leaving cash on site, putting up signs that say as much, and not leaving chairs or other items outside that could help people break in.

Contact Maura Forrest at

maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read