Crime trending downward in Penticton despite very active prolific offenders | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Crime trending downward in Penticton despite very active prolific offenders

FILE PHOTO - Penticton RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter is pictured in a file photo.

Penticton’s top cop wants more resources to support people who are in need of help, but for those who aren’t interested in receiving the help they need, he wants to see stiffer sentences from the courts.

“I want a dedicated nurse embedded with police to attend these calls with us, and we’re not there yet,” Supt. Brian Hunter told Penticton city council during his quarterly update today, May 3.

But even if more resources become available, Hunter isn’t sure that everybody in need of help will accept it.

“Our true prolifics don’t necessarily want that help, so my job is to hold them to account and if they don’t want to pay attention to the rules, to bring them before the courts,” he said.

“Ultimately I feel that that many of our prolifics perhaps could use stiffer sentences – more accountability through our judicial system – but that’s not for me to decide.”

Hunter was blunt in saying the Penticton RCMP “targets” more than 20 prolific offenders. "Some people don’t like that word but we definitely provide them with enhanced policing surveillance and accountabilities.”

The city’s top five prolific offenders had an average of 93 contacts with police between April 1, 2021 and April 1, 2022.

READ MORE: Penticton RCMP investigating suspicious house fire

In 10 of B.C.’s biggest cities, the average prolific offender had 57 police contacts over the same timeframe.

“Not every police contact is a criminal offence, but definitely it’s, generally speaking, not a positive contact with the police,” he said.

One local prolific offender, Hunter pointed out, had 98 run-ins with police that year, despite spending 127 days in jail. “So a very active person.”

RCMP quarterly report stats comparing the first three months of 2022 to 2021 show an 8% decrease in criminal code files – from 1,613 to 1,755. Calls for service dropped by 7%, from 3,960 to 3,683.

Reports of sex offences and uttering threats both dropped nearly in half – from 20 last year 11 this year, and 72 to 38, respectively.

However, one crime trending in the other direction is auto theft, which saw a 48% increase from 56 last year to 83 in 2022.

Hunter was asked what the common motivations are for local car thieves.

He said 86% of stolen cars are recovered which would suggest thieves aren’t trying to sell them.

“They are using them to commit further crimes,” he said. 

Although high-end vehicles are sometimes stolen for the purpose of shipping them off to another country, Hunter said that’s not happening in Penticton.

READ MORE: North Okanagan RCMP launch arson probe into suspicious wildfires

He was also asked if key-free ignitions are resulting in more auto thefts.

“Not that I’m aware of,” he said.

Mayor John Vassilaki said crime in Penticton is not as bad as it used to be, "and I think it’s partly because of work RCMP is doing in the community."

Hunter said things are moving in the right direction and that "we're getting there."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 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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