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Vernon News

Major crime investigations interfere with proactive police work

Vernon RCMP Supt. Reg Burgess

VERNON - A number of time consuming investigations sucked up RCMP resources this summer and meant other crime in the city went unchecked, says Vernon’s top cop.

Superintendent Reg Burgess presented a quarterly report to Vernon City Council Monday and said investigations into the city’s alleged serial arsonist, a shooting in Polson Park, fatal motor vehicle accidents, and other serious files took up significant time and effort in the past few months.

“(It) has taken all of my crew concentrated on those,” Burgess said. “When we do that, it takes us away from doing proactive police work.”

Burgess calls this summer a perfect storm, one that was heavily taxing on the detachment. And while officers poured over the season’s numerous major files, crime statistics took a hit.

According to Burgess’ report, property crime spiked by 41 per cent, and total criminal code files by 21 per cent over the last three months.

“When we’re so busy with investigating serious crime we can’t be on the street consistently dealing with prolific offenders who are committing crimes. It gives them (an) opportunity,” Burgess said.

The exhausting summer has no doubt had an affect on the detachment’s workforce, already stretched thin.

“It’s typical to see burnout by the end of the summer and start having difficulty filling shifts,” Burgess says. “We’re starting to see that happening, especially so this summer.”

As investigations wrap up and criminal activity winds down, Burgess says police will redirect priorities to proactive policing, a tactic the detachment has prided itself upon in the past.

To contact the 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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