Statement of Supt. Kara Triance: 2019 Crime Severity Index for Kelowna

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Statistics Canada has released the 2019 Crime Severity Index of Police Reported Crime.

In the report the Kelowna Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which consists of the city of Kelowna, rural Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, and Lake Country, is ranked fourth out of 35 CMA`s across Canada for overall Crime Severity (CSI) in 2019 compared to 6th in 2018.

"We recognize that this ranking appears concerning, but I would like to stress that Kelowna and the surrounding communities remain extremely safe," says Officer in Charge, Kelowna Regional Detachment, Superintendent Cara Triance. "What’s important is to look at our CSI statistics in context. There are a number of factors that impact this ranking including the size of our community, a change in how crimes are reported, as well as some relatively new programs to address the key driver behind the numbers – property crime."

"A CSI is determined by police reported crime and population in an area. The Kelowna CMA has a relatively small population and very proactive RCMP detachments that self-generate police files. Kelowna is also a resort destination during the summer with a significant increase in visitor population. While that number is not reflected in our population statistics, it does affect reported crime."

"The Statistics Canada report indicates that the Kelowna CMA is ranked 14th in violent crime. It is the non-violent crime that appears to have adversely affected our ranking." 

"Our preliminary review shows that much of the crime that is affecting the Kelowna CMA crime rating are these non-violent crimes of opportunity and resulting in more files that police generate. These include: Theft from motor vehicles, shoplifting, theft under $5000 (which is often theft from yards or open garages), mischief, and disturbing the peace files."

"Due to the Kelowna CMA`s relatively small population size one or two prolific offenders who commit these crimes can have a dramatic effect on the region’s crime statistics."

"In addition, it is important to note that as of January 2019, new standards for police-reported crime statistics collected by Statistics Canada were implemented. In addition, police services in British Columbia undertook a uniform training strategy to further standardize reporting throughout the province. The new reporting standards were expected to result in an increase in crime rates over time."

"It is important to stress that we have been monitoring these statistics on a continuous basis. That’s why we have introduced a number of significant changes and improvements in how police service is deliver in the area over the past year."

This includes:

  • Focusing on our community partnerships such as working with the Kelowna Outreach and Support Team, Social Services agencies, and the Interior Health to address the complex problems around housing, mental health, and poverty.
  • The addition of six positions to our community safety unit putting more uniformed officers on the street in downtown Kelowna and Rutland area, with increased patrols on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • A new online crime reporting website to make it easier for our citizens to report theft and other crimes
  • Implementing our General Investigative Support Team (GIST). This team is imbedded with our frontline officers and provide ongoing and immediate assistance with more serious and complex investigations.
  • And focussing on our employee training and wellness programs to support those who perform this work.

"It is our belief that these changes better allow us to serve our communities in the region and to help disrupt criminals that may be in the area."

"The RCMP remains committed to providing excellent police service to each of the communities we serve. We will be reviewing the statistics to determine how the RCMP and our communities can actively reduce and prevent these crimes of opportunity and reduce the regions Crime Severity Index rating in the future."