The City has hired a term position to fill part of the void left by the passing of Corporate Services Divisional Director Rob Mayne.
Bill McKinnon is being brought on board to work with senior levels of government, social service agencies and community organizations to find ways to ensure the public feels safe on our streets and to develop recommendations on how best to tackle the complex conditions that contribute to a lack of public safety.
“While crime rates per 100,000 people have gone down slightly between 2012 and 2017 in Kelowna, we are recently experiencing more criminal activity in concentrated areas, which is negatively impacting our community despite our increased enforcement efforts,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “There is a limit to how much can be solved through enforcement and we need to work more cooperatively and collaboratively with our partners to ensure services are in place to minimize crime from occurring in the first place.”
McKinnon, a former RCMP officer and Superintendent of the Kelowna detachment, has been tasked with delivering his recommendations by November. His working knowledge of the criminal justice system and the many factors contributing to the perceived lack of public safety outside of policing will ensure an expedited and thorough report.
“This is not about the enforcement side of things – Superintendent Brent Mundle and his team are doing a good job dealing with that,” said McKinnon. “This is about the coordination of all levels of government and identifying the services needed upstream, before there’s a need for law enforcement.”
Similar to the Journey Home model that brought the community together to develop a strategy for housing that meets the needs of our most vulnerable residents, McKinnon’s task is to focus community agencies and other levels of government on possible gaps in services people need to enhance safety.
“We are doing our part when it comes to law enforcement, however just adding more enforcement is clearly not enough. The RCMP have indicated that until there is a stronger focus by all levels of government on upstream prevention to address the social issues that are contributing to criminal activity, no amount of enforcement is going to solve the problem,” said Basran.
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