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Crack down on prolific offenders showing impacts in Penticton: RCMP

The report to city council had a number of good signs in it
RCMP search for suspects involved in break-ins and vehicle thefts in the Carmi area of Penticton on Friday, morning. The suspect pair were arrested in West Kelowna later that morning. (Ellen Girouard)

Increasing Penticton RCMP officers is starting to show large impacts on the city’s prolific offenders, based on a report to city council.

On average, the RCMP are keeping an eye on about 20 prolific offenders, and thanks to the hires of officers recently their prolific offender management team has been working to crack down on them.

Of the city’s prolific offenders, the RCMP are also currently working through them to build a list to send to the new prolific prosecution hub in Kelowna, Penticton RCMP Staff Sgt. Bob Vatamniuck told council.

Work on the city’s prolific offenders was directly linked to drops in property crime.

Property crime overall went down, with double-digit percentage drops in auto thefts, break and enters of businesses, shoplifting and thefts from vehicles. According to the RCMP, one individual is currently in custody who directly impacted the drop in auto thefts.

“This council, and last council, have contributed significantly to the RCMP and we’re starting now to see the impacts of those investments,” said Vatamaniuck.

Another incident that was referenced were the events on March 24, which saw RCMP respond after two people were caught stealing from properties and vehicles up Carmi Road. The two individuals weren’t locals, and ended up leading RCMP on a chase that eventually ended in West Kelowna. The pair from Alberta face numerous charges.

READ MORE: Scary moments in rural Penticton end with arrests in West Kelowna

“We were able to get up there right away because we had enough resources working at the time,” he said.

Mischief to property went up 24 per cent with 92 more cases to a total of 479 in 2023, and fraud went up from 68 to 88. The latter is largely a higher number of phone scams, which targeted the city’s senior population.

The actual statistics for the first quarter of 2023, compared to the same three months of 2022, showed overall crime levels saw only a six per cent increase, with a hike in violent crimes including domestic violence and uttering threats.

Sexual offences also were higher than before, but that was in part due to historical offences that were only reported in the first quarter.

Vatamaniuck also noted that in conversations with loss prevention officers at local stores there has been a recent shift in who has been shoplifting.

Loss prevention officers are seeing a lot of people they’ve never seen before stealing groceries. Vatamaniuck believes this can be attributed to food inflation and cost of living.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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