January 26, 2016 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Crime rates in most categories are on the decline in Kamloops, but according to local RCMP it's the preventable ones that are on the rise.
Compared to the same time period in 2014, property crime rose 16.2 per cent with 259 more files, Kamloops RCMP Supt. Brad Mueller says.
“All crime types with the exception of property crime has shown decreases in this quarter. The most prevalent is theft from motor vehicles,” Mueller says.
He notes the crimes were ‘opportunistic in nature’, with residents either leaving car doors unlocked during evenings or displaying valuable items in plain view.
Last year Kamloops RCMP received 41,592 calls, an increase over the year before, but Mueller says the amount of actual offences — 15,412 — is down from 2014.
Beyond following up on property crimes, Mueller notes he and other top officials are examining how the amount of calls — specifically repeat calls — can be avoided.
He says false alarms have been of particular concern because of the time requirements.
“False alarms is a big deal. Right now in a lot of instances we’re being asked to be the runner agency on these false alarms,” he says. “If you get a panic alarm, you’re sending multiple units."
Mueller says a number of false panic alarm calls come from both residential and business properties, but the majority of repetitive calls come from the commercial side of things. He attributes some of the calls to personal security systems available at retailers which robocall RCMP when tripped.
He says there are security companies which will provide the same services as the RCMP for a nominal fee when it comes to investigating an alarm, but says police should no longer be the default because it takes officers away from regular duties.
Community Safety Director David Duckworth says he’s developing a bylaw which could fine those who make repeat false alarm calls.
Coupled with false alarm calls come missing person reports, Mueller says. Since October, Kamloops RCMP received 257 missing person reports, which works out to about three missing people per day. He notes the majority of those files are chronic runaways, but says people sometimes resort to calling police when their foster child hasn’t returned from a friend’s house.
“We need to come up with strategies on how we can better deal with these cases; it’s quite taxing,” he says. “From a policing perspective we have a core mandate of providing police service — basically public safety and arresting violators who are committing crimes. What we feel is happening is that we’re being asked to do more and more duties that are taking us away from our core duties."
Mueller says Kamloops RCMP is looking to discuss the issue along with other social problems (such as homeless in the downtown core) with the appropriate stakeholders.
"There’s no easy fixes. We need to be at the table, but we need to have some discussion. The automatic default can’t be to look at police to deal with the issues. We can’t arrest our way through social issues."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016