February 03, 2016 - 3:12 PM
PENTICTON - The Penticton RCMP are ramping up efforts to tackle a recent increase in break and enters across the city.
The detachment is shifting its resources to focus directly on a surge of break and enters and thefts from motor vehicles.
"We know prolific offenders usually drive this type of crime, and we have seen great success in the past when we work with our partners to focus on these offenders. Typically it’s just a few people who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime," Staff Sergeant Kurt Lozinski, head of operations for Penticton RCMP, says.
Police believe a number of suspects are specifically targeting unoccupied residences throughout Penticton, where owners are working out of town or away on vacation. The break-ins generally take place after suspects cruise the neighbourhood to ensure no one is home.
Sgt. Lozinski says the community can play a big role in helping police by calling them when they observe suspicious or unusual activity. Police have acted on such calls in the past and subsequently found individuals wanted on outstanding warrants or in breach of court imposed conditions.
From December 15, 2015 to January 31, 2016, 38 residential break and enters have been reported in the city. Police say this is a significant spike in this type of crime for the same period compared to the last two years previous. Police also report an increase in theft from vehicles over the same period, with 57 reported thefts.
Police continue to offer tips to residents to reduce opportunities for thieves, like locking vehicles when parked in the driveway and ensuring no valuables are left in view.
Tips to add security to residents’ homes include: installing a security system, locking doors and windows, alerting neighbours if you plan to be away and making your home appear occupied when you’re not there.
Residents are also asked to call police if they see individuals or vehicles acting suspiciously,or if they do not appear to belong in the neighbourhood.
“This is a community problem. I am working closely with our partners at the courthouse, probation, mayor and council and other groups to ensure we are all on the same page when it comes to managing our prolific offenders,” Sgt. Lozinski says.
Residents who take the opportunity to report suspicious persons or activities are an extension of the police, Lozinski notes. He says many thieves have been arrested simply because concerned citizens called police.
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