The province of B.C. is taking a proactive step towards cleaning up crime in Kelowna.
Kelowna was named one of 12 ‘hubs’ across the province intended to target violent repeat offenders, announced by Premier David Eby at an April 12 press conference.
The hubs will be based in Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Abbotsford, Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Prince George, Williams Lake and Terrace, and each will also serve surrounding communities.
According to a press release from the province, the hubs will work with local stakeholders and with existing programs such as situation tables, “co-ordinating responses” through the justice system and connecting offenders with social services.
The provincial government announced its repeat offender intervention initiative last month, noting that the $25 million would support 21 Crown counsel, 21 B.C. Prosecution Service support staff and 34 corrections officials, supervisors and probation officers.
In a recent ‘year in review’ presentation to Kelowna city council, RCMP noted that just 20 individuals in the city were responsible for more than 3,575 crimes between 2020 and 2022.
In August of last year, Kelowna Cst. Mike Della-Paolera told Capital News that local police were becoming ‘numb’ from the cycle of repeat offenders, and that simply being arrested was not enough of a crime deterrent in Kelowna.
“In my opinion, the money that is being allocated to community services isn’t being doled out properly… It’s not being utilized properly,” said Della-Paolera.
Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, said that “no one should feel unsafe” in their community.
“Whether they are visiting local businesses, spending time in parks, or just exploring all the amenities that communities in the Interior have to offer. We’re bringing together police, probation officers and prosecutors, and giving them the resources they need to find solutions to our communities’ concerns.”Follow @nanaimobulletin