Violent crime is on the rise in Kelowna, and the COVID-19 pandemic bears responsibility.
In a report to City Council on Monday, RCMP Superintendent. Kara Triance said that between 2019 and 2021 there has been a 33% increase in social unrest calls from downtown, while crimes against people, which include everything from threats to assaults, have increased. increased by 38%.
Of note, common assault, spousal assault, assault with a weapon and uttering threats each increased by more than 25%.
The shift coincided with what the city’s police chief called an “alarming” increase in fatal and non-fatal overdose cases. Together, they “increase the workload and stress” of the local RCMP, Triance wrote.
Kelowna RCMP’s new chief constable solves the problems
From 2019 to 2021, there was a 77.8% increase – from 18 to 32 respectively – in fatal overdoses witnessed by the RCMP.
Non-fatal overdose calls to the RCMP increased by 74.4% over the same period, with 39 calls in 2019 and 68 in 2021.
“Kelowna is not immune to trends in in-person crime in other communities across Canada,” Triance said in the report.
“These trends are concerning, although some were anticipated as they relate to the effect COVID-19 has had on personal, family and community conditions and routines. Many of them are complex, rooted issues, requiring a multi-system response.
Amber Alert ends for 1-year-old girl who disappeared in Kitchener
Body of 4-year-old found in Las Vegas freezer after sister slipped note to teacher
Coronavirus: Reports of domestic and intimate partner violence continue to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic
Triance said the multi-system response is starting to emerge through efforts like the Kelowna Community Safety Plan.
One of BC’s top cops calls for more mental health services
“The Kelowna RCMP remains committed to developing innovative, long-term approaches that engage the social, educational and health sectors,” Triance said.
Although there have been more crimes against people, property crimes have also started to increase, although Triance said they were less frequent than before the pandemic.
“The number of motor vehicle thefts and shoplifting, while lower than 2019, is on the rise and is the result of a small number of prolific offenders for whom access to adequate care or consequences is limited,” she said.
Kelowna RCMP stuck in ‘capture and release’ scheme, superintendent says
“The Community Safety Unit and RCMP Investigative Services are collaborating on a pilot project to increase capacity to deal with the increase in property crimes,” Triance said in the report to the board.
“In addition, the detachment will continue to build strategic communications capacity and enhance messaging to the public, including promoting the 9 p.m. routine and the importance of securing personal property.
Commercial and residential break-ins, as well as auto thefts have increased since 2020, but have not reached pre-pandemic levels.
‘You’re not a Canadian’: Racist tirade filmed outside Kelowna vaccination clinic
However, some areas have seen improvements. Bike thefts from 2019 to 2021 have decreased by 24% and thefts from a vehicle have decreased by 17% over the same period.
The full report will be presented to the Board at the Monday afternoon meeting.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.