Kelowna-Mission MLA Rene Merrifield wants to hear from you on crime.
“Crime used to be a fairly small part of our Kelowna society, but not anymore,” said Merrifield.
She was referring to a recent Statistics Canada report that the Kelowna census metropolitan area had the highest crime rate in the country in 2021.
The police-reported crime severity rate was second highest in Canada, behind Lethbridge. Merrifield noted it’s well documented that prolific and repeat offenders are a problem and that it’s not just a policing issue.
“The budget for Kelowna’s police department has gone up by 84 per cent over recent years,” she said. “Throwing more money towards policing isn’t going to help unless there are other supports in place.”
Despite the arrests they make, the rest of the system is not functioning as it should, and these officers see these same offenders day after day, added Merrifield. She said the system is broken and people have been taking matters into their own hands.
“A shop clerk runs out after being robbed and apprehends the suspect. A Facebook group starts up to maintain a watch on theft and crime in Kelowna, called “Take Back Kelowna”.
Merrifield added the RCMP is doing their part, but there is much more that could be done by government.