COVID’s toll on Kelowna citizens showing up in crime stats as increase in assaults | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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COVID’s toll on Kelowna citizens showing up in crime stats as increase in assaults

Calls to police throughout the country dropped during the height of the COVID pandemic last year but are now surpassing pre-pandemic levels in Kelowna.
Image Credit: City of Kelowna

Calls to police throughout the country dropped during the height of the COVID pandemic last year but are now surpassing pre-pandemic levels in Kelowna.

That’s particularly true with crimes that seem to stem from mental health issues and other stresses from COVID-19, according to a report from Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance that’s going to Kelowna city council on Monday, Nov. 22.

“Consistent with national police statistics, pandemic impacts on social wellbeing are emerging in Kelowna, as evidenced by increases in reported disorder calls and persons offences including assaults, domestic violence, and utter threats/harassment,” states the report.

The report only provides data for the second and third quarters of each year, not the year to date.

It shows a 27.7% increase in domestic violence in the third quarter of this year compared to 2019 with 846 cases. Sexual offences were up 16.7% to 14 cases and sexual assaults up 25% to 40 cases.

READ MORE: Penticton's 5% rise in crime largely shoplifting, mischief: RCMP

Charges of uttering threats/harassment jumped 67.7% to 208 and assaults with a weapon charges were up 299% to 113.

The only “Person Offence” that went down was theft with violence, dropping by 38.7% to 19 cases.

The vast majority of criminal offence are termed property offences. That number climbed by only 3.4% in the third quarter of 2021 versus 2019 to 3,193.

Auto theft (13.8%), break and enter residential (20.7%) and other theft (20.5%) were all up. Other theft accounted for 1,654 of the 3,193 total property crimes.

On the other side, bike theft was down 26.5% to 191, break and enter business down 16.1% to 135 and theft from motor vehicles down 12.5% to 637.

“To address rising property crime, Kelowna RCMP’s leadership team promptly established a dedicated property crime target team and will be expanding on its effort to date to strengthen Crown’s partnership in addressing persistent property theft offenders,” the report said.

Calls for service with a mental health component are up 10.5% to 823 while mental health apprehensions were down 8.4% to 142. Disorder calls from downtown are up 54% to 1,015. Total calls for service were up six per cent to 17,960,

Despite the heavy workload, response times to Priority 1 calls were down 5.7%. Response times to Priority 2 calls were down 6.5%.


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