Kelowna’s crime rate improving

Kelowna's crime severity rating is on the decline, but conditions are still far from ideal in the sunny city.

Kelowna’s crime severity rating is on the decline, but conditions are still far from ideal in the sunny city.

In a Statistics Canada report where the nation’s crime rate notably plummetted to a 40 year low, Kelowna was listed among the Top 10 crime capitals.

Kelowna was ranked fifth nationwide with a crime severity index rating of 97.4 in 2011, which is a 14 per cent improvement from 2010. Ranking No. 1 on the list was Regina. The national average for Canada is 77. 6.

Although police often say they don’t put a lot of weight in statistical information, Kelowna’s crime rate has been noted in the past when the topic of needing more resources was raised.

In particular, a report by an outside consultant pointed out that Kelowna would fare better if it had a more robust police force.

That resulted in the hire of 11 new RCMP and one civilian member in 2012 along with a further 10 members —nine of which will be RCMP and one civilian—over the next three years.

With those members in place, Kelowna Mounties intend to reduce crime by another 10 per cent in the next four years, they told council Monday.

They’ll accomplish that by, increasing patrol availability from 6.7 per cent to 25 per cent by 2015.

They also intend to reduce calls for service by five per cent in 2014 and again in 2015 in order to increase patrol activity

Finally, they’ll increase internal and external communication related to crime reduction.

Since it peaked in 1991, the crime rate has generally been decreasing and, in 2011, was at its lowest point since 1972. The Crime Severity Index (CSI) was 26 per cent lower than it was a decade earlier in 2001.

Through Twitter, the Conservative government attributed the drop to their tough-on-crime stance, however, the figures are reflective of a time that precedes their controversial omnibus bill.

Kelowna Capital News