Crime in Silver Creek prompts community meeting

Silver Creek residents packed the community hall last Wednesday night to hear and ask questions about crime in the area.

It’s a sign of the times.

Silver Creek residents showed their concern in great numbers, packing the community hall last Wednesday night to hear and ask questions about crime in the area.

Silver Creek Community Association president Jamie Felhauer was stunned by the large crowd that filled the hall, particularly since the public was advised only two days previously.

Felhauer says the meeting was called after members of the community association heard the concerns of two residents Monday, June 9.

“A gentleman has posted signs around Silver Creek and one of the community association members called the guy and said we’re having a meeting, come and tell us what happened,” says Felhauer, noting the man was accompanied by a friend.

The first individual told about the theft of his tools at his residence near the bottom of Yankee Flats Road and said he had phoned Vernon, not knowing which policing area he lives in.

The friend, who lives farther south out of the Salmon Arm detachment area, related a story of a home invasion and robbery including four men dressed entirely in black, one carrying a cattle prod and the other a sawed-off shotgun. He did not report the incident to police.

The details of this story concerned members of the community association but also made them wonder why police were not called.

“We talked some more and after they left, we discussed the matter and decided to hold a community-wide meeting at the hall,” Felhauer says.

While Felhauer says attending RCMP member Sgt. Carlos Tettlowski of Salmon Arm was patient in fielding questions, area residents were upset and frightened.

“We did discuss having a community liaison person, someone who would pass information onto the police,” she says. “My phone rang off the hook the next day with people giving me information. It surprised me about the information that I need to pass on to the police.”

While he understands residents’ concerns about recent break-ins, Salmon Arm detachment Staff Sgt. Kevin Keane says crime is relatively low in Silver Creek.

He points out that 487 property crimes have been reported in the detachment area, but only 15 (or three per cent) of them occurred in Silver Creek – two involved ex- partners going into homes to remove items, one involving gas card fraud that was committed in Vancouver, a jeep doing doughnuts in the snow, and another, the vandalizing of the Silver Creek Community Park concession April 7.

The rest involved an assortment of thefts including quads, a telephone, a generator, a wallet, cameras, a solar panel, makeup and toilet paper, among other things.

Keane says following a tip from a member of the public, three “prolific offenders” from Kamloops are back in jail and a number of items they had stashed in a motorhome in the community park recovered.

In response to complaints at the June 11 meeting about the demise of the Crime Watch program, a decision taken at higher levels of the federal police force, Keane says community members need to watch out for each other.

He says that at the end of the day, any community program is supposed to be run by the community. And unlike bigger detachments such as Vernon’s, Salmon Arm does not have the resources to have a person dedicated to such issues.

Felhauer, meanwhile, invites area residents to attend the next community association meeting, which will be held at the community hall at 7 p.m. Monday, July16. Crime will be on the agenda.