Perception of Penticton crime wave has a basis in reality
By Steve Arstad
Theft of vehicles is one of several crime categories on the rise, according to fourth quarter statistics from the RCMP from 2014 to 2015.
Image Credit: RCMP handout
February 05, 2016 - 2:30 PM
PENTICTON - Is Penticton “a community under siege” as a Penticton judge commented earlier this week during a sentencing decision for one of the region’s prolific offenders, or is the recent perception the city is experiencing a crime wave simply media reporting, as a Penticton defence lawyer pondered during the same hearing.
The answer could be it’s a combination of both.
Crown counsel could not support the judge’s perception with facts or statistics during last week’s hearing, but there are police statistics available that tend to reinforce the judge’s comment.
The city has been experiencing a large increase in several specific areas, when comparisons are made between fourth quarter statistics from 2014 and 2015. The numbers come from the Penticton RCMP’s quarterly reports.
Comparisons show an increase in residential break-ins of 37.5 per cent from October to December 2014, when compared to the same period in 2015.
Theft of vehicles increased by 18.4 per cent. Shoplifting was up 43.1 per cent during the same period.
The number of theft from vehicles was down in 2015, but incident numbers remained high - 146 occurrences in 2014 to 132 in 2015.
Those numbers were reinforced somewhat by a Penticton RCMP media release earlier this week that reported a significant increase in break and enters and theft from vehicles in a six week period between December 15, 2015 and January 31, 2016, when compared to previous years.
The perception of an escalation of crime in the city could also be the result of media reporting. A year ago, there was no formal, regular reporting by RCMP of its activity. The media reported on crime through sporadic press releases from the police or by questioning the RCMP after a tip from the public.
That changed in late April 2015, after representatives from several media outlets in the city spoke to Penticton RCMP about the need for police to have regular meetings with reporters so information about police investigations and incidents could be shared with the public.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
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