July 22, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KELOWNA – Two people were arrested for allegedly running a bicycle chop shop in Kelowna last month as part of a police crackdown on prolific offenders in the downtown core.
RCMP found more than 40 bicycles ranging in value from $500 to $5,000. The bikes, says Supt. Nick Romanchuk, were being used as currency in the downtown drug trade.
Romanchuk says 20 investigators working 70-hour weeks between June 16 and June 30 also arrested more than 40 people for a range of other crimes.
“Many of those arrested were prolific offenders with one individual having over 140 previous convictions,” he said. “We have focused on… that relatively small group of offenders who are responsible for the majority of crime in our community.”
So far, 44 people were charged with 75 criminal offences, including trafficking, possession of stolen property, obstruction and breaches of various court orders.
“Most of these people are already in custody with the remainder to be apprehended on warrants of arrests.”
Ages range from late teens to early 50’s and are of both genders. Six of those charged have been identified as mid-level traffickers of heroin, crack, cocaine and crystal meth.
In 2014 Kelowna had the highest drug crime rate in Canada for communities with more than 15,000 people.
Romanchuk says that’s exactly what he wants to hear.
“The drug crime rate is linked to the amount of proactive work the police do,” he says. “In other words, if we didn’t conduct any drug enforcement we’d have the lowest, or one of the lowest drug crime rates in the country. Because we’re so proactive the numbers are high. That’s good news and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.
“It’s my belief that more drug enforcement relates to a lower crime rate, which is reflected in the decreases we’ve seen over the last two years in our relative crime rate.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015