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Top cop says Kelowna is still a safe city

RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle reports to Kelowna city council, Monday, Dec. 3, 2019.
December 03, 2018 - 3:20 PM

KELOWNA - Kelowna residents don’t need to fear for their safety says RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle.

“There is some perception within the community about safety downtown and in Kelowna in general,” Mundle told city council during his quarterly update. “Although we’ve seen some increase in person-related crimes, I don’t think people should feel afraid. It’s localized to specific locations and specific individuals. The general public don’t have anything to fear when shopping downtown.”

Outside the council meeting, the Kelowna detachment commander told that some of the increase can be blamed on a few individuals.

“You do get certain prolific offenders,” he said. “A small group can cause a significant disruption.”

Police do target those individuals but often can’t get them jailed because of a lack of evidence so they’re soon back out on the streets.

There is also a great need to deal with the social services side of crime – getting help for those who may be committing crimes due to mental health or addiction issues. Police are working on a number of efforts to better co-ordinate with Interior Health and other agencies.

Mundle went on to explain that property crime has trended down over the past five years and is now on the upswing everywhere, not just Kelowna. To the end of October, property crimes increased to 8,288 from 7,036 last year.

A lot of the property crime increase is due to bicycle thefts and thefts from vehicles, he said.

“It infuriates me that people leave their automobiles open and leave things in full view,” Coun. Maxine DeHart said. “It’s just senseless to leave that stuff in cars.”

She asked about the need to educate people more about the need to lock their cars.

“The message is out there,” Mundle replied. “I don’t think it’s sinking in, unfortunately. It’s a preventable crime.”

Firearms, credit cards and laptops are just some of the items he’s seen stolen from unlocked cars.

A recent report on crime and homelessness by former Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon pointed out that, during the summer, the detachment was short about 30 of its 188 officers for available active duty. Mundle said that number has not changed much since then.

Four new officers approved in the 2018 city budget won’t be in place until the spring, he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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