Every week, during the run-up to the Oct. 20 election, the Capital News will ask Peachland candidates a question about a local issue. The first question is: Are you concerned about crime in your city? What would you do to create change if you were elected?
For the full list of candidates, go to kelownacapnews.com and click on the election tab.
Fortunately, Peachland has a very low serious crime rate. However, break-ins and theft do occur, especially in the warmer months. We used to be a community where you could leave your car and house doors unlocked, but no more. I have been, and will be, dealing with this in a couple of ways. First, I encourage citizens to sign up for the Neighbourhood Block Watch. Roy Morgan, crime prevention coordinator with the RDCO, is an excellent source of information and instruction on how to do that. You don’t need to patrol your neighbourhood and shouldn’t confront anyone suspicious. Block Watch is more about being the eyes and ears of your neighbourhood, and lets you know who to contact should you see anything suspicious. It works. Secondly, we have been working on a greater police presence. But policing costs are great, (we currently pay about $750,000/annually) and I am working on getting the province to cover more of the cost, especially for smaller communities with much smaller tax bases.
It would be naïve to say you are not concerned about crime in your community. I have worked in law enforcement since 2007 and am intimately aware of factors that contribute to criminal behaviour and the impact it can have on victims. As a council member, I believe the best use of this position is to have open and clear lines of communication with the RCMP and advocate for diligent policing and police presence in your community. In addition, I feel strongly that supporting local community groups that aim to reduce crime is an essential component. Peachland is lucky to have Citizens on Patrol which helps law enforcement by observing and reporting suspicious activity or other items of concern. Further when considering development applications giving feedback to developers to be proactive and be cognizant of the concept of crime prevention through environmental design. This is the idea that integrating, electronic detection, and alarms with architectural design and layout, in concert with police, and neighborhood watch programs will lead to greatly reduced opportunity for would be criminals to successfully act. I believe that striving to reduce crime will always be an unfinished job that requires commitment from all levels of government, police and citizens.
Keeping crime under control is vital to a healthy community. We are fortunate, in Peachland, to have low crime rates. We benefit by sharing RCMP resources with West Kelowna. The RCMP have always kept council and staff regularly updated on issues. We also benefit from volunteers at Community Policing.
Crime is a problem everywhere, Peachland is not immune. In the last 10 years we’ve had a murder of a teenager and a major break-in of a local business. Just recently a lot of vandalism to cars has been reported. Also reports of questionable people skulking around in wee hours of the night.
When elected I plan to lobby for more street lights whether LED or solar powered which will help with the safety of Peachland to deter crime. For a small town with no police presence, it is very safe place to live.
I live in Peachland and generally feel safe, but like every town, there is a concern with theft. A good police presence deters criminal activity but we as a town need to implement safety measures to deter crime. Keeping valuables out of view of potential thieves and securely locking your home, out buildings and vehicles reduces the attraction of theft, easy not to steal when there is nothing to take. There is an active community patrol volunteer program in place and appreciation for the time they spend out in the community will ensure this program remains active. Proper lighting on our city streets will decrease crime and also provide safety for foot traffic in the evenings. Beach Ave north of 13th Street, along the lake is a good example where lighting should be implemented in Peachland.
Patrick Van Minsel
The level of crime in Peachland has risen in the last few years.
I have friends who have been the victims of break-ins in the past three to four years. To these incidents, there has been a minimal reaction from law enforcement and policymakers, who plead lack of resources. Crime is not a problem that Peachland council can solve on its own, but there is more we must do to make Peachland safer.
We need to watch out for each other, and the newly elected council should look into the fact we have no RCMP detachment in Peachland, we pay $238.44 per household a year for policing, and for this amount of money we should have at least at night an RCMP officer in town.