How crime affected Kelowna in 2020
Kelowna Police Chief Kara Triance presented city council with a report on Monday outlining 2020 crime trends and public safety.
She said there was a 16% decrease in property offences from 2019.
“We’re actively monitoring 11 persistent offenders. In 2020, 45 individuals were arrested and charged, six of those were prolific offenders. So offenders who had done a lot of crime and are people who are causing the majority of crime attached to one specific spree. So we might see 20 stolen vehicles, large machinery and other stolen property attached to one individual.”
Bike theft, auto theft and theft from auto were all down between 20 and 25%.
Kelowna was one of few communities who did not report an increase in break and enters to businesses.
They went down 26.3%.
While 87% of residents reported feeling safe last year, there was an increase in personal attacks.
The report states those were mostly threats and harassment.
Triance said when it comes to COVID-19 related harassment, you can call 911.
“Anytime a crime is in progress or there is somebody whose life or limb is at risk we want the public to call 911. And in a case where lives are being put at risk, where individuals are not maybe wearing mask or breaching any sort of public health order, given that we are fighting a global pandemic right now, this is a time to call police.”
Kelowna saw an increase in domestic violence and serious assaults but Triance said this is a common factor being seen across most major BC communities.
“So we believe, and it would be too early to say at this point that it is a COVID related challenge, but at this point I think we can extrapolate that we are seeing some pandemic related factors and we're going to be monitoring this very closely in 2021. Trying to determine if this is consistent versus a change in how crime is perceived in this community.”
10% of calls for service came from the downtown core and police responded quicker.
Even though 911 calls decreased, the city saw non-fatal overdoses double from 2019.
When it comes to managing overdose challenges Triance said her detachment is focused on trafficking and importation.
“When we are dealing with those who are bringing drugs into the community and benefiting from an economic perspective through criminal activity such as the sale of drugs, we will always take the approach of enforcement where possible and hold those individuals to the highest level of standards.”
Triance said decriminalization is something she advocates for when it comes to mental health and substance abuse challenges but drug response is up to Health Canada and Interior Health.
Council will be discussing the RCMP's 2021-2024 Strategic Plan in coming months.