Supt. Brian Hunter will be presenting first quarter RCMP stats to Penticton city council, tomorrow (April 21). (Phil McLachlan - Western News - File)

Reported South Okanagan crime up 14 per cent in first quarter

RCMP attribute change to increase in property crime which increased 23 per cent

Reported crime in the South Okanagan is up 14 per cent, according to the first quarter RCMP report which will be presented to Penticton city council on April 21.

From January to March 2020, the Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen Regional RCMP Detachment received 4,773 calls for service, which is up eight per cent from the same period last year. Of these, 4,106 occurred within the city of Penticton.

The report, which will be presented to council by RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter, explains that there were 1,771 total reported crime events for this period, up 14 per cent from last year.

This change, he explains, is driven by the increase in property crime which jumped from 983 to 1,209, an increase of 23 per cent compared to last year.

In the Penticton Municipal Detachment, there was a 62 per cent increase in break and enter of businesses, at 76 compared to 47, in the fourth quarter last year. This is a seven per cent increase compared to the 2019 first quarter.

Compared to this period last year, theft from vehicles jumped 45 per cent, from 154 to 223.

The most calls for service in Penticton during 2020’s first quarter was theft, at 441.

Reported crime in the South Okanagan is up 14 per cent, according to the first quarter RCMP report. (RCMP)

In addition, Hunter highlights several arrests of chronic offenders during this reporting period, and says recidivism in the community “remains a problem.”

Hunter, who joined the Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen detachment in February, says planning is underway to realign police resources to have more police officers working during peak period policing times.

“This will place more police officers on the streets during the busier times of the day, allowing us to deliver enhanced enforcement focused on the community’s chronic offenders,” he explains in the report.

The report also highlights the Penticton detachment’s policing priorities, which includes crime reduction, improved traffic/road safety by increasing enforcement, increased focus on family and sexual violence, and increased focus on the wellness of their employees.

The full council agenda, which contains Hunter’s report, can be found here, on page 13.

READ MORE: Fire crews unsure what caused two vehicles to burn in Kaleden

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