The Kelowna RCMP has responded to StatsCan’s 2022 crime annual report.
Kelowna Census Metropolitan (CMA) has ranked second among 34 CMAs in Canada in regards to total crime, the second year in a row.
The Kelowna metropolitan area also ranked first in non-violent crime, and ninth in violent crime severity.
Among cities in B.C., here’s how Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, and Peachland rank on the Crime Severity Index (CSI):
- Kelowna - 34th;
- West Kelowna - 84th;
- Peachland - 121st;
- Lake Country - 129th.
Despite being the highest in CMAs in Canada, the Kelowna CMA crime rate is down five per cent from the previous year. Crime rate also differs from CSI and is defined as the number of Criminal Code offences or crimes (excluding drugs and traffic) reported for every 100,000 persons.
Property crime is what drives Kelowna’s CSI, and it specifically includes Theft from Motor Vehicle, Shoplifting, Fraud, Break and Enter, and Theft Under $5,000.
In response to this, the Kelowna RCMP have increased focus on a number of measures:
- Enhance data-led strategies were adopted. Reported crimes to police are examined daily at Kelowna Regional RCMP and that crime data directs the deployment of police and crime reduction strategies;
- Alongside local governments, extensive advocacy occurred in 2022 for property crime offenders to have adequate consequences and appropriate care to stop the cycle of crime in our community;
- A focused collaboration by the entire membership within Kelowna RCMP has increased the visibility of police in high crime areas during peak hours of criminal activities. Continuing to grow relationships with key partners in the community of Kelowna has been instrumental in a focused response to trends;
- Kelowna RCMP strongly supports the work of the Kelowna Integrated Court and has directly noted the results of decreased criminality when repeat offenders are held in custody or admitted into substance use treatment programs where they have access to health and housing.
The Kelowna RCMP has also recently reinstated the Repeat Offender Management Program, which partners with BC Prosecution Service, Probation Services and Corrections to address repeat offenders through a coordinated and focused approach, prioritizing the most problematic offenders.
“Crime and safety are among the top priorities of this Council,” said Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas. “We hear and share the frustration many residents and business owners have about this issue, and we are steadfast in our commitment to addressing crime in Kelowna and building the safest, most vibrant community possible.”
To make immediate changes to the violent crime severity, the Kelowna RCMP have creating an Integrated Child Exploitation Team, focusing on the most serious crimes to bring them to conclusion, implementing more strategic data lead policing responses, and engaging with the community (Coffee with a Cop events).
So far in 2023, the Kelowna RCMP know the influencers in our non-violent property crime are: fraud up 51 per cent, shoplifting down one per cent, break and enter down 39 per cent, theft from motor vehicle down 34 per cent and theft over down 18 per cent. This is routinely communicated through the Mayor’s reports.
“We have developed a series of programs and resources to address key areas of crime and safety for our community,” said Dyas. “The 2023 budget provides funding for six new RCMP officers and four Bylaw Services officers. We also approved an ongoing one per cent Public Safety Levy which will ensure we can continue to invest in new crime and safety initiatives as we recognize there is more that needs to be done.”
On top of this, the Kelowna RCMP would also like to remind the public to lock up their personal belongings as more than 25 per cent of stolen property is reportedly unlocked.
“Kelowna Regional RCMP Detachment remains fully committed to addressing crime in our community, while providing an exceptional policing service,” said Superintendent Kara Triance. “I am really pleased to report since the release of the 2021 report last year, we have seen a steady decrease in crime in almost every area of violent and non-violent crime.”