A crime heavy year in the Central Okanagan, Kelowna council hears

There were 6,778 properly offenses, 2,646 criminal code offenses and 1,155 person offenses from January 2016 to the end of September,

Acting Kelowna RCMp Supt. Brent Mundle

The number of crimes in Kelowna surged this year.

There were 6,778 properly offenses, 2,646 criminal code offenses and 1,155 person offenses  from January 2016 to the end of September, according Kelowna’s acting top cop, who presented the RCMP’s quarterly policing report to city council Monday.

Acting Supt. Brent Mundle said by comparison, the same period in 2015 had 5,612 property offenses, 2,110 other criminal offenses and 1,117 person offenses.

While the the most serious category, crimes against persons rose slightly, it remains at the five-year average. The real jump in volume appears to be with property crime.

One surge was seen in thefts from vehicles. That branch of crime increased 26 per cent, for a total of 349 files, from 2015.

Another area of increased activities is bicycle theft.

Those files have increased by 43 per cent, or 164 cases, in 2015.

Police are cautioning that these will have a “substantial impact” on this year’s overall crime rate when the final numbers are tallied.

While the numbers don’t reflect well on the city, Mounties say they implemented anti-crime strategies that are already yielding positive results.

As an example, they highlighted the number of commercial break and enters in the Highway 97 corridor, between April 1 and June 30.

Between April and June, there were 51 commercial break-ins along the Highway 97 corridor. That prompted police to take special action to curb the break-ins..

Those measures included “targeting offenders working within the hot spot areas using both overt and covert techniques, working with businesses to improve security, and flooding hot spots with marked police vehicles and uniformed members,” Mundel said.

The result was a 53 per cent reduction in business break-ins along the highway corridor between July and September.

Kelowna’s crime rate was 102 offences per 1,000 population in 2012. It dropped to 87 offences per 1,000 population in both 2013 and 2014, but the rate rose to 97 offences per 1,000 population in 2015.