The B.C. Urban Mayor’s Caucus co-chair is Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Contributed)

The B.C. Urban Mayor’s Caucus co-chair is Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Contributed)

Kelowna Mayor urges action on prolific criminal offenders

Concern over repeat offenders’ criminal activity and catch and release justice cycle

Repeat criminal offenders are a major concern for B.C. Urban Mayor’s Caucus (BCUMC) co-chair Colin Basran and his counterparts.

A letter from the BCUMC, signed by Basran and co-chair, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, expresses concern with “repeat offenders criminal activity and the catch-and-release justice cycle.”

The letter is addressed to Attorney General David Eby and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. It provides criminal offence data from 10 cities, including Kelowna.

The data shows Kelowna with 15 prolific or chronic offenders who are responsible for 1,039 negative police contacts. It also shows that one offender, in particular, has since 2016 generated 346 RCMP files and received 29 convictions for property crime and assault offences. The individual currently has “no-go” conditions at 11 businesses and is routinely released with conditions and then re-offends.

The letter notes the frustration of residents, police officers and municipal councils, and urges Eby and Farnworth to find solutions in dealing with chronic offenders while acknowledging that some experience mental health challenges, homelessness, or substance use issues.

Kelowna has added $32 million in new safety resources since 2016, according to the letter. This includes 49 new RCMP officers, and an 84 per cent increase in the city’s RCMP contract budget going from $27.9 million in 2016 to an estimated $51.4 million in 2022.

Some of the suggested solutions from the BCUMC included increased investment in the B.C. Prosecution Service, stricter control and consequences for repeat offenders, and the implementation of community courts.

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