Break-in numbers jump in West Kelowna

Despite huge increase, break-ins not listed as a priority for the RCMP in the city

According to the West Kelowna RCMP, its ongoing priorities include traffic, thefts from vehicles, drug trafficking and engaging youth.

Based on the latest crime statistics released by the city’s acting officer-in-charge, it would appear business and residential break-in should be added to that list.

When the periods of July to September in 2016 and 2017 were compared, break-ins at businesses in the city jumped to 33 from eight, a 313 per cent increase and break-ins at residences jumped to 38 from 11, a 245 per cent increase.

Only traffic warnings and traffic violation tickets issued saw larger percentage increases.

The statistics are included in a report that is going to West Kelowna city council Tuesday night.

Related story: West Kelowna neighbourhood fed up with criminal activity

In the report, Insp. Anna Marie Mallard, the regional operations officer for the RCMP and the acting detachment commander for West Kelowna, said the annual performance plan for the RCMP in the city “remains a work in progress.”

When comparing the July to September crime statistics for last year and this year in West Kelowna, only some traffic categories, such as motor vehicle incidents (down 14%), MVA fatalities (none compared to one in 2016), injuries (down 46%) and roadside prohibitions (down 25%), as well as Liquor Act violations (down 5%) saw decreases. All other categories, including homicides (one this year compared to none last year), violent offences (up 4%), robberies (up to 3 this year from one last year), assaults with a weapon (up 18%), stolen vehicles (up 200%) and noise bylaw infractions (up 44%) saw increases.

Mallard’s report said overall calls for service were up 13 per cent this year in the city, with just under 2,400 calls received between July and September. Calls for service in Peachland during the same period were up 13 per cent and on Westbank First Nation lands, they increased 12 per cent this year.

Mallard just made a passing reference to the issue of illegal marijuana dispensaries in her report, saying efforts to deal with them are ongoing.

The city is currently fining dispensaries for staying open and operating without business licences. Meanwhile, the City of Kelowna is taking dispensaries that continue to operate there to court in a bid to have them shut down.

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