Tops in property, drug crime

The Central Okanagan is No. 1 among the 33 Canadian census metropolitan areas when it comes to police-reported property and drug crime.

That's according to yearly figures released this week by Statistics Canada.

While the numbers may seem alarming, the top cop at the Kelowna RCMP detachment disagrees.

While property crime rose six per cent over 2015, Supt. Brent Mundle says much of that can be attributed to preventable crimes, such as theft from vehicles and bicycle theft.

Mundle has noted on more than one occasion that such crimes of opportunity are committed when vehicles and bikes aren't locked.

According to StatsCan, the Kelowna metropolitan area, which stretches from Peachland to Lake Country, had 5,718 police-reported property crimes per 100,000 people and 691 drug crimes.

Both are well above the national average of 3,207 and 263, respectively.

The property crime rate went up six per cent over 2015, while the drug rate fell two per cent.

Another factor that drives the numbers is what Mundle calls "self-generated, proactive police work."

"When we are looking at our crime prevention strategies and targeting specific offenders, that increases those stats, as does proactive impaired driving enforcement," he said.

"When our impaired driving stats goes up, that's usually as a result of self-generated work from our officers."

The regions violent crime rate dropped 14 per cent over the same period, to 941 per 100,000, 17th in the nation.

"Overall, violent crime rates across the country, I think, have been decreasing," said Mundle. "That could come from demographics and aging population and those types of things. To come up with an exact reason why would be difficult."

The area's overall crime rate of 8,445 crimes reported per 100,000 population, is third highest in the country. Only Regina (9,253) and Saskatoon (8,942), were higher.

The crime rate increased by two per cent over 2015, but since 2006 is down 27 per cent.

To avoid confusion, while Kelowna is No. 1 in property crime among metropolitan areas, Penticton is No. 1 among all communities in the country.


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