Kelowna mayor offers assurance in wake of shooting, crime report | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna mayor offers assurance in wake of shooting, crime report

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna
August 02, 2021 - 2:30 PM

Kelowna mayor Colin Basran is offering assurances that Kelowna is still a safe city following an apparent gang-related shooting that left two injured in a busy tourist area.

“Saturday night's shooting of two men in a public and popular area of Kelowna is very distressing and concerning.  Incidents like this put the lives of innocent people and our first responders at risk and are not acceptable," he said in a statement. 

RCMP said that the Saturday night shooting was the second targeted attack this year on West Kelowna resident Kyle Gianis, 37. An unnamed 25-year-old Surrey man was also a victims of the shooting. Gianis, who has survived several public attempts on his life, was released from the hospital and the Surrey man remains in medical care with what are believed to be life-threatening injuries. No arrests have been made as of yet.

“Thankfully, gun violence is extremely rare in Kelowna," Basran said.  "The RCMP have indicated this event was targeted among people known to each other.  I have full confidence in the RCMP as they continue to investigate this matter thoroughly to ensure justice and community safety are upheld."

Basran said community safety is a top Council priority and that’s why it invests more than 30% of all tax dollars into Police and Bylaw Services.  At $43.6 million, he said, this represents its largest operating investment in 2021.

“Since 2018, we have hired 30 RCMP officers, 26 RCMP support staff, six Bylaw officers, two Bylaw support staff and a Community Safety Director. We will continue to make investments in public safety to ensure our city remains one of the best places in the country to live and to visit," he said.

“We are a vibrant, healthy community and our citizens do believe Kelowna is a safe city overall. In the 2020 Citizen Survey, 87% said they felt safe in Kelowna."

The shooting this weekend comes on the heels of Statistics Canada's annual national crime severity index release for 2020.

The Kelowna Census Metropolitan Area, which is Peachland to Lake Country, was ranked third for crime severity in Canada. That's up from fourth in 2019. 

It had a crime severity rating of 111.0, Lethbridge which was was No. 1 had a rating of 138.7 and Winnipeg was No. 2 for a rating of 116.3. While the Central Okanagan rose in the ranking system it was down eight points from the year before.

Police-reported crime in Canada, as measured by the Crime Severity Index decreased 8% in the first year of the pandemic—falling from 79.8 in 2019 to 73.4 in 2020. The CSI was 11% lower than a decade earlier in 2010.

The CSI measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada, and has a base index value of 100 for 2006. The police-reported crime rate, which measures the volume of crime, also fell 10% in 2020 to 5,301 incidents per 100,000 Canadians. In 2020, police reported over 2 million Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic offences), 195,015 less than in 2019. Serious crimes are given more weight.

Basran said the city will also continue to invest in strategies that connect young people to health, education, and employment and partner with our community to support violence prevention programs.



 


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