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Surge in unemployment could be behind jump in Kelowna crime rate, RCMP say

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April 29, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KELOWNA - Criminal code offenses were up 11.3 per cent in Kelowna last year, a big jump that could be explained by a spike in the city’s unemployment rate.

Part of that increase is a 43 per cent jump in thefts from vehicles, a category that comprised 25 per cent of all property related crimes in Kelowna last year.

RCMP Supt. Nick Romanchuk will offer up those numbers and more during a presentation of the detachment’s crime reduction strategy to Kelowna city council.

The strategy lays outs the goal of reducing crime by five per cent by 2019 and lays out targets for response times for priority one and two calls of seven and 10 minutes respectively.

Officers must aim for 25 per cent proactive time and two units must be available at all times, the report says

It also aims to keep the perception of community safety at or above the 94 per cent of citizen’s survey respondents who said they felt safe in the community,

In the report, Romanchuk suggests a surge in unemployment in Kelowna, from three per cent at the beginning of 2015 to 8.1 per cent in February, 2015 could be fueling the increase in crime.

The superintendent further suggests the collapse of oil prices and resulting unemployment in the oil patch in Alberta and Saskatchewan could be making worse the unemployment situation in Kelowna.

An early estimates peg the number of criminal code violations in the Kelowna area (which also includes Peachland, West Kelowna and Lake Country) last year at 97.2 per 1,000 population, up from last year but down from 2012 when the rate was 102.4.

The superintendent compares Kelowna to the Kamloops, North Okanagan and Penticton detachments and points out Kelowna is third behind Kamloops and Penticton for criminal code violations per 1,000 population.

He describes Kelowna as having a unique population, driven by a surge in the tourism population in the summer season and throughtout the rest of the year that is not captured in census data and is a strain on police resources.

Romanchuk will also tell councillors about the implementation of CompStat, the force’s predictive modelling software, and how it will provide data to target certain areas and prolific offenders.

Find more stories on Kelowna RCMP here.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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