Summer brings drunk drivers

The summer crowds are back in the South Okanagan, and with them comes an increase in impaired driving and crimes of opportunity. 

RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager said part of the uptick comes from the doubling and, in places like Osoyoos, tripling of the overall population. Some of it is summer revelry, and police are ramping up operations to keep it in check.

De Jager said they recently completed a big operation with South Okanagan Traffic Services in Keremeos, as well as monitoring the streets of Penticton regularly. 

Overnight July 10, just a regular Wednesday, Penticton traffic services handed out three 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions, a patrol member handed out a fourth, and several warnings were also handed out. 

"So yeah, that's a problem, in a big way," De Jager said. 

He said the police have also seen an uptick in drug impaired driving. 

"I don't know whether that's because drug impaired driving is increasing or because we have members who are trained to detect it now," he said, saying it might be a mix of both. 

The summer population boom also brings easy pickings for thieves. 

"While we've been trying very hard to educate the public of the South Okanagan to lock your doors, remove your valuables, people on vacation often don't do that," De Jager explained.

"They come from somewhere else, their bike is on their car with a strap, they go into their hotel, and it's gone in the morning. We would like nothing better than be able to stop that and prevent it but we just can't physically be in all those places."

The RCMP special units are working hard targeting the repeat offenders who are known for these types of crimes, to keep crimes of opportunity to as much of a minimum as possible. 

"We don't want visitors to the community to get preyed on."

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