Police won't always attend

Beginning soon, RCMP in the South Okanagan will be reducing its physical response to thefts from vehicles, in attempt to better utilize resources.

Penticton RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager told regional district board members on Thursday the approach is part of a ‘differential call response,’ which is one of the detachment’s priorities in 2018.

“As the files for particularly violent crime or higher-level property crime goes up, lower-level property crime gets less response,” De Jager said to board members.

“We will probably not be responding to theft from automobiles anywhere with an emergency vehicle, but we will be taking a call over the phone and giving a file number for insurance purposes… That will in turn allow us to patrol more.”

He added that theft from vehicles in Penticton alone last year accounted for nearly five per cent of all calls in the regional service area.

“Overall, what we want to see regionally is a drop in calls for service — because of a drop in crime, not because people stop calling us… So if your car does get broken into, don’t just say ‘the police aren’t coming.’ Please tell us so we can start to target those areas.”

De Jager said Penticton RCMP responded to 744 thefts from vehicles in 2017 and charged only three people.

He said it’s “virtually impossible” to charge on theft-from-vehicle crimes since they happen fast and there’s often no evidence — reiterating points he made last month to Penticton mayor and council.

Several board members were in agreement with the detachments strategy.

“If you’re not going to take the responsibility, the accountability to lock your vehicle… That should be at the bottom of the list,” Penticton Coun. Judy Sentes said.

De Jager said the detachment will make one more public announcement in the coming weeks to remind people to lock their vehicles before beginning to shift their focus.


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