PENTICTON - Penticton RCMP resources are feeling the pressures of increasing call volumes and depleted ranks as this year’s crime statistics defy normal patterns.
Staff Sgt. Kurt Lozinski describes the call volumes as “wonky” this year, as seasonal call volumes in the off season winter months this year reached summer volumes at times.
Lozinski says the detachment struggles to balance personnel resources with the rising call levels, and staff feel the pressure. He also notes a slight increase in crime rates, speculating the South Okanagan was seeing an influx of criminals from other areas, calling them “multi-jurisdictional.”
Two murders in six months in the city haven’t helped with personnel resources either, as the investigations further tax police resources.
“It’s much the same up and down the valley. We could all use more resources,” he says.
There have been no new developments in the latest murder of Darren Leadbeater, who was found dead in a Golden Sands Resort room on June 4. Lozinski says police believe the murder was targeted and residents need not fear for their safety. The investigation continues.
Lozinski has high praise for the Rotary Club and their organization of the first Ribfest over the past weekend.
“They did an excellent job organizing the event, and from what I understand it was successful. It provided the kind of demographics we are looking for. I was very impressed,” he says.
Police responded to a normal summer weekend’s worth of calls during Ribfest, with no unusual crimes being reported. Lozinski says a number of thefts and complaints of kids out late into the night were recorded last week, with mischief complaints for things like broken or damaged sprinkler heads on residents’ lawns.
Graffiti vandalism complaints are down in the city as summer gets underway. Lozinski says the work of Keri Milton and the Downtown Penticton Association’s anti graffiti campaign might have a lot to do with that statistic.
“Anything we can do is better than nothing,” he says.
Police have issued a warrant for Okanagan Falls resident Ron Teneycke, a habitual offender who failed to show up for an intermittent jail sentence for two weekends in a row.
“He needs to turn himself in. It’s in his best interests to get back into custody,” Lozinski says.
I’d like to ask people once again to keep reporting suspicious activity and crime. Don’t be afraid to contact us,” Lozinski says, urging people to relax and enjoy the summer, especially when driving.
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