Vernon News

Fewer traffic check stops, drunk driving investigations in North Okanagan a symptom of heavy caseload

Vernon RCMP detachment

VERNON - A heavy case load impacted the Vernon RCMP’s ability to keep up with proactive police work, like traffic checkstops, over the summer.

RCMP Superintendent Jim McNamara pointed out a 12.5 per cent rise in criminal code cases, much of it related to property crimes, which jumped 10.9 per cent, during an update on the detachment to Vernon City Council at a meeting Monday, Nov. 9, and. The statistics are for July to September compared to the same time period in 2014.

“The summer months have proved to be busy for the detachments and may have impacted our members’ ability to conduct self-generated traffic work,” McNamara said, adding road safety checkstops dropped by 33 per cent.

Impaired driving investigations also followed a downward trend, with a dip of 5.7 per cent over the same time last year.

Officers were also kept busy over the summer assisting with road closures and alerts for the Bear Creek forest fire, McNamara said.

McNamara also highlighted the work of the forensic identification unit, which identified 20 people on 16 different files through fingerprints or other evidence.

“This unit consistently provides an excellent service to this detachment area and has realized significant success of late in several criminal identifications related to several property related offences this past summer,” McNamara said.

Coun. Scott Anderson took the opportunity to ask McNamara if the spike in property crimes might be related to an increase in transients.

“Anecdotally, we’re seeing an increase, based on feedback from members working on the road, we’ve seen some increase in criminal activity from persons from outside the area, people in Kelowna and Kamloops,” McNamara said, adding the detachment does not track those numbers.

Anderson also asked about foot patrols in the downtown core, given a recent incident involving a food truck vendor getting attacked. McNamara said there are patrols day and night in Polson Park, but not actively in the downtown area. He added that police will be meeting with the Downtown Vernon Association and bylaw to discuss the concerns.

“We might have to shift our focus from Polson Park to the downtown,” McNamara said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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