181326
174660
Kelowna  

More business owners near Spall and Springfield roads speaking out about spike in crime

Crime wave hits businesses

The list of angry property owners has grown in the area around Spall and Springfield Roads, with two more businesses speaking out about struggles dealing with theft and street issues.

The MC College beauty school has had several windows smashed, multiple cars broken into and a student's car recently stolen. College director Nikki McCrimmon says students and staff no longer feel safe.

"I think as a college, our top priority is making sure our students and staff feel safe, and comfortable coming to the college, so it's very frustrating, it's unsettling, so I’m hoping we can find some solutions to help the area,” she said.

McCrimmon says the school has spent considerably to improve safety recently.

“In the last probably two months, we’ve had to take down a building in the back to prevent people from loitering in the area, we’ve removed all seating outside, we’re actually getting a fence put up soon through the back, and we’ve increased our security patrols,” she explained.

The school was forced increased visits from private security from once per day, then to four time a day, and now to every other hour.

The owner of Cobs Bread on Spall Road, Cory Eaton, agrees that crime has gotten out of control in the area. He's taken the step of hiring private security to ensure staff can get to their cars safely.

“I’ve got guys harassing the staff when they come to work at 2:30 in the morning, banging on their car windows, banging on the windows of the store. We’ve had camps set up right in front of the store, and we’ve had to hire security to come in at 2:30 a.m. basically to escort my staff into the store,” said Eaton.

Eaton said he recognized the thief captured in a surveillance video at the Sonic Car Wash as involved in a police incident in front of his store the very next day.

“He was roughing up a female right in front of our store," Eaton explained, adding he was able to deescalate the situation, but only momentarily before police had to be called to break things up.

Both McCrimmon and Eaton tell Castanet they want to see more police presence in the area. McCrimmon says she plans directly lobby mayor and council on the issue. They join a chorus of other business owners in the area who have gone on the record over the last week about the deteriorating situation.

Last week, Mayor Basran said the city has invested heavily in the local RCMP in recent years, "but it's also not feasible to have officers in every neighbourhood overnight anticipating something."

He called addiction-driven crime a health care issue that needs to be treated that way.

RCMP, meanwhile, are encouraging business owners to report property crime in the area, "we allocate our resources based on crime trends and preventative patrols."



More Kelowna News

178485