Cases of assault with a weapon take big jump in Kelowna: RCMP | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Cases of assault with a weapon take big jump in Kelowna: RCMP

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

Assaults involving weapons in Kelowna rose to 62 in the first three months of this year compared to 44 in the first three months of 2021, while theft with violence cases went up to 20 to 16, or a 25% increase.

“Of concern for our community and the Kelowna RCMP is a 40.9% increase in assault with a weapon, a concerning trend being experienced by all jurisdictions nationally,” says a report going to Kelowna city council on Monday, May 30. “In March 2022, Public Safety Canada reported an 81 per cent increase in violent offences involving guns since 2009.”

Increases in most components of crime measured by Kelowna RCMP are up to 2019 levels. That includes a 63.3% increase in property crimes and 47.8% in auto theft, which typically involves idling and unlocked vehicles.

The report covers the first quarter of this year and compares it to the previous three years.

While auto theft is up 47.8 % from last year, at 136 cases, it’s only up by one from 2019.

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There have been 441 shoplifting incidents this year compared to the high over the last four years of 357 in 2020.

Break and enters at businesses reached 189 this year from a previous high over the last four years of 169 in 2020. There were only 46 residential break-ins. That’s up by six over last year but it’s down from 76 in 2020 and 72 in 2019.

On the more positive side, thefts from motor vehicles were down to 423 in the first quarter of this year compared to a peak for the four-year period of 653 in 2020.

Bicycle thefts were also down, to 65 this year from 96 last year, the worst year out of the last four.

Half of the property crimes are committed by about 10% of the offenders, generating 149 files, with three people accounting for 45% of those files, the report says.

There is a “brazen attitude in common offences and low value property crime,” it says.

There has been a significant increase in criminal activity in the downtown core, a considerable increase in people sleeping and causing problems in parks and it’s taking more time to break up illegal campsites, the report says.

In the first three months of this year there were 2,560 property crimes, which is up 5.7% from last year.

Sexual offences were up 16.2% compared to last year to 43 but domestic violence was down 29% to 142 incidents. Common assault was down 3.8% but still accounted for 280 cases.

Drug trafficking incidents were down 60% to 12 from 30 while the number of traffic tickets issued in the first three months of 2022 was down 70% compared to last year to 316.

“While the raw numbers are relatively low, this decrease largely reflects an ongoing shift in federal enforcement and prosecution policies,” the report says. “A further decline is notable in respect of traffic violation tickets which resulted from a temporary redeployment of traffic services to frontline resourcing to address demands of calls for service, workloads, and pressures relating to human resourcing.”

Collisions, on the other hand, were up 49.7% to 262.

There were 703 calls for service with a mental health component, down 9.1% from last year. Mental health apprehensions were down 6.5% to 145.

Calls in response to drug overdoses, however, were up 5.4% to 39 this year versus last.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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