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West Kelowna takes bite out of crime

Despite the highest officer to population ratios in the province, crime in the District of West Kelowna, is dropping.

Figures provided to council by West Kelowna RCMP on Tuesday show the crime rate fell 30 per cent over the three year period from 2009 to 2011.

Over that three year period the West Kelowna RCMP detachment had a complement of 21 municipal officers and the highest officer-to-population ratio among 30 municipalities with populations over 15,000.

That equated to one officer for every 1,305 people.

According to those numbers, the crime rate in the municipality fell from 70 reported Criminal Code offences (per 1,000 population) in 2009 to 54 in 2010 and 49 in 2011.

These do not take into account drug or traffic offences.

While the crime rate dropped, the case load per officer also dropped by about 30 per cent from 91 cases per officer in 2009 to 64 in 2011.

Despite the high officer-to-population ratio, West Kelowna's crime rate of 49 in 2011 was one of the smallest among those same 30 municipalities which had an average crime rate of 66 Criminal Code offences per 1,000 population.

"I know the residents of West Kelowna will find this news very encouraging, as West Kelowna Council heard many people say that a safe community is their top priority," says Mayor Doug Findlater.

"A 30 per cent decrease is significant and it is very gratifying to see that the hard work of our RCMP officers is obviously paying off."

The municipality entered into a Municipal Policing Agreement April 1, 2009 -- it  includes the requirement of an annual report reviewing service levels, workload and calls for service.

The new West Kelowna Detachment currently houses 46 members, 23 for West Kelowna, 16 for provincial policing, four for Peachland and three for Westbank First Nation policing.



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