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Kelowna  

Crime targets missed

The RCMP will not hit their crime reduction targets for the year.

The report was given to Kelowna city council by Kelowna RCMP superintendent Nick Romanchuk, on Monday.

Although the RCMP have been focusing on reducing domestic violence, city council heard today that reported incidents have actually increased.

"Kelowna has the unfortunate reputation for having some of the highest rates of domestic violence," said Romanchuk. 

Although reducing domestic violence by 5 per cent was the goal, they actually saw it tick up by almost 5 per cent. 

Romanchuk said he thinks part of the increase is because Kelowna RCMP have a focused domestic violence unit.

"Part of the reason for high levels of domestic violence is a comfort level among the community in reporting," he said.

Those sentiments were echoed by city counsellors Gail Given, who said Kelowna "isn't any worse" than other cities and Mohini Singh, who recounted her positive experience when she recently brought someone there.

Singh said her biggest concern was that the unit, which is currently staffed by a single corporal, was empty when that corporal recently went on vacation.

Romanchuck responded, "One of the two new [officers] we're bringing in this year, one of them will be in the domestic violence unit," he responded.

Organized crime is another major issue for Kelowna.

"We've had a pretty significant peak here over the past few months," he said. Although he added that over the year, he expects the numbers to be about the same as last year.

There was one particular rash of crimes they believed to be attributed to organized crime, but turned out to be a group of teenagers.

Given asked if the kids were acting independently or if they had been recruited by organized crime groups.

Romanchuk said they appeared to be acting independently.

"In this case, these kids came from good families, used pepper spray, imitation weapons and edged weapons," said Romanchuk. "Very, very concerning for us."

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