Longtime downtown Kelowna resident no longer feels safe in her yard

Prowler on the porch

A woman living in downtown Kelowna says prowlers in her neighbourhood are now an everyday occurrence.

Sheree Wolansky says she has lived in her home near Stockwell Ave. and Graham St. for 21 years, but things have progressively gotten worse.

“We have been having encounters with people entering our properties that we didn't used to have, just really odd things happening in our neighbourhoods, with the transients that are roaming around in the middle of the night."

Wolansky says she recently walked out onto her back porch and was suddenly face to face with a very intoxicated man in her own yard.

"I mean, he just came right through. We love being downtown but it just seems to be getting worse and worse with people trespassing," says Wolansky.

Like many people, Wolansky often calls the RCMP, but she knows they have their hands full with more important calls.

She was, however, a bit rattled by the city's top cop who explained sky high crime rates are in large part due to the city's tourism sector, lack of social services and growing population.

"The problem is with tourism? I'm not sure, is that what we're calling transient populations now? That was a big slap in the face. Tourists are not somebody who comes up onto my porch and take something. So that was something else that got all of our backs up a little bit —the tourists are going to the wineries,” said Wolansky.

Wolansky and her husband have considered selling their property and moving away from the downtown area, but so far she hasn’t completely given up hope.

“I love my little 1947 Grandma's house, but at the same time, I want to feel safe in my own yard.”

The Kelowna RCMP continue to encourage residents to call them if they don't feel safe for any reason. It helps the detachment deploy resources accordingly.

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