(Black Press Media files)

Vehicle thefts increase, break and enters decrease in Penticton

Statistics from RCMP show changing crime trends in South Okanagan and Similkameen

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, police in the South Okanagan and Similkameen remain busy responding to crime in the region.

During the pandemic, police are continuing to conduct their patrols and respond to crimes, although front counter service at the detachments has been closed to the public.

At the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen meeting on May 21, RCMP Superintendent Brian Hunter presented statistics from January to March, 2020.

In Penticton, the number of residential break and enters dropped by 47 per cent when compared with the same period in 2019, with 24 incidents instead of 45.

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Business break and enters rose slightly, from 71 in the first three months of 2019 to 76 in the first three months of this year. This represents a seven per cent increase.

Other break and enters in Penticton dropped by 16 per cent, with 31 incidents reported in the first three months of this year, compared with 37 in the same period a year earlier.

While the number of break and enters was down, vehicle thefts and thefts from vehicles both increased significantly.

There were 74 vehicle thefts in Penticton from January to March, a 35 per cent increase from the 55 vehicle thefts reported in the first three months of 2019.

Police also received 223 reports of thefts from vehicles, a 45 per cent increase from the 154 incidents during the same period in 2019.

In Summerland, the number of business break and enters rose significantly, with 21 incidents reported in the first three months of 2020, compared with four in the same period in 2019. This is an increase of 425 per cent.

Hunter said the increase was the result of a series of incidents at the Summerland landfill.

Violent crimes against persons increased by 96 per cent, from 23 in the first three months of 2019 to 45 in the same period of this year.

In Princeton, thefts from vehicles and business break and enters both showed decreases in the first quarter of this year. The number of vehicle thefts increased from two in 2019 to three in the same period this year.

The number of violent crimes against persons in Princeton rose by 21 per cent, from 33 in the first three months of 2019 to 40 in the same period this year.

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