KELOWNA – A Kelowna RCMP report says the city’s crime rate is on the rise.
Already one of the highest in the country, Kelowna residents experienced an almost nine per cent rise in the crime rate this year over last. According to the report prepard by acting officer in charge Insp. Brent Mundle, that amounts to almost 4,000 more calls to police.
The quarterly report to city council says property crime continues to be one of the fastest growing trends.
Thefts from vehicles rose a shocking 26 per cent this year and bicycle thefts over the summer rose 43 per cent.
Mundle says in his report the increase had a “substantial” impact on Kelowna’s overall crime rate over the last year. In 2014 there were 273 reports of bicycle theft. That number climbed to 384 in 2015 and 548 for 2016.
Kelowna already has the fourth highest crime severity index in Canada and in May, RCMP Insp. Gordon Stewart called bike theft “one of our growth areas.”
“There’s a general increase in property crime across the board. Bikes are easy to trade so they are on the leading edge of that,” he said.
Most bikes, he said, are stolen simply because people need to get around.
“The main reason bikes get stolen is people need transportation and they’re available.”
That explains why all kinds of bikes are stolen, he says, from pink children’s bikes to high end racers.
“They sell them or trade the bikes for drugs, that’s not uncommon.”
That same month, Supt. Nick Romanchuk pledged to reduce Kelowna’s crime rate by five percent using a combination of data-driven, evidence-based policing. Four months later however, Romanchuk announced his early retirement and Abbotsford police were put in charge of an investigation of the detachment.
Spokesperson Const. Ian MacDonald has refused to confirm if Romanchuk is the subject of the investigation but says identities will be made public if charges are laid. The investigation is ongoing.
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