Kelowna RCMP commander hopes incoming officers will help bring down crime rate

Will more officers help?

Kelowna's top cop hopes an influx of new officers will allow her detachment to focus on crimes which pushed the city's crime rate to number one among the 35 metropolitan areas in Canada last year.

The annual report provided by Statistics Canada back in August showed Metro Kelowna—the region spanning Lake Country to Peachland—had a crime rate per 100,000 last year of 11,112. The national crime rate was 5,375 per 100,000.

The issue of crime and Kelowna's standing as the "Crime Capital of Canada," was front and centre during the recent municipal election campaign.

Speaking before the newly-elected council for the first time Monday, Supt. Kara Triance said the detachment has the resources to focus on the four areas which contributed most to Kelowna's crime rate.

These include an additional 43 officers being deployed to the city, 23 of which have already arrived, with the other 20 expected within the next 90 days.

"[Break-and-enter], bike theft, fraud and shoplifting were the top drivers in what was causing our Crime Severity Index to be up in 2021, which is why I have chosen those four to show you, and really why we chose those four to focus on," said Triance.

"Over Q2 and Q3 we saw an average increase in property crime such as break-and-enter, shoplifting, bike theft and fraud. But, with the full focus of our teams back on mandate following summer deployment, we saw declines year-over-year and month-over-month in August, September and October."

Triance continued to stress the need to profile and target priority and prolific offenders in the city.

She said as many as 250 "priority offenders" are situated within Kelowna.

With the focus on those repeat offenders, she says the RCMP are committed to decreasing the risk of property crime in the community.

"We were able to get the resources, priority offenders identified, our criminal analyst and intelligence units staffed adequately and up to speed.

"When those investments were made and we saw those analysts hired, we began that priority focus on the areas that were causing our crime drivers."

With the additional boots on the ground, she says the 2023 focus will be two-fold, to an enhanced capacity in both the proactive enforcement team and in continuing to build out the community safety unit.

Asked by Coun. Ron Cannan if these measures will be enough to allow Kelowna to relinquish the title of Crime Capital of Canada, Triance said that is the goal they are working toward.

"I will be putting my best foot forward with respect to making sure we decrease crime in our community.

"I can tell you we are putting the priority focus on the key drivers of the Crime Severity Index, we will continue our efforts in all areas of advocacy, communication and engagement with our stakeholders."

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