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Kelowna RCMP, mayor celebrate no change in crime rate

Supt. Nick Romanchuk called a press conference Wednesday afternoon to point out that Kelowna has dropped from the third most crime-ridden city to number four.
July 22, 2015 - 2:26 PM

NO CHANGE IN STATISTIC; OTHERS DID WORSE FASTER

KELOWNA – It’s been two years since Supt. Nick Romanchuk vowed to improve Kelowna’s standing as the city with the highest crime rate in the country, but it appears other communities have done most of the hard work for him.

In 2012, Kelowna had the highest crime rate of communities with a population of more than 100,000. One year later our position dropped to number three and according to a new report by Statistics Canada, Kelowna now ranks at number four.

Supt. Nick Romanchuk and Mayor Colin Basran welcomed media to the Kelowna RCMP detachment to tout the new position, saying it is due to a focus on prolific offenders and an increase in resources.

“More than half the new tax dollars collected in 2015 will go towards supporting RCMP and to get started on the new police services building,” Basran told media Wednesday morning.

But according to StatsCan, it’s not that Kelowna’s crime rate dropped since 2013, it’s that other communities got worse faster.

“Essentially, we’re doing better than all the rest,” he says. “When everyone else is going up, we’re increasing a whole lot less than everybody else. Even if we’re staying the same, to me, it’s good news.”

To qualify as a major metropolitan centre, a city must have a population of at least 100,000. With a population of roughly 180,000, Kelowna is considered an average size. But Romanchuk says that we are still unusual in a lot of ways.

“We have about a million tourists that come in every year,” he says. “And with that influx of tourists comes additional crime."

Romanchuk says he’d like to see that number drop even further but cautions against expecting too much from a city with so many seasonal tourists.

“We’re never going to be far down on that list. There’s a bigger impact on us than you would see in other communities,” he says. “I’d like to be out of the top five for sure, maybe somewhere between five and ten would be reasonable and probably achievable.”

The city with the highest crime rate in Canada for 2014 is Saskatoon, followed by Regina, Vancouver and Kelowna.

Kelowna is ranked number 17 for violent crimes severity, an eight per cent decrease over last year.

“Considering that we are being measured against 32 other census metropolitan areas, those accomplishments are quite significant,” Romanchuk says.

In Canada, police reported about 369,500 violent incidents in 2014, approximately 15,000 fewer than the previous year. Violent crimes continued to account for about one-fifth of all police-reported Criminal Code offences (excluding traffic) in 2014.

Both the violent crime severity index and the violent crime rate in Canada decreased by 5 per cent in 2014, representing the eighth consecutive annual decline for both measures of police-reported violent crime.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infonews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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