Downtown Kelowna is no less safe today than it was a year ago, say police.
Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said there has been a downward trend of violent crimes across the city since 2015.
“A preliminary check of statistics related to downtown Kelowna for the first five months of 2018 compared to the same time period in 2017 shows that person crime offences remain proportionate to one another,” O’Donaghey said.
That said, there continues to be an increase in calls for police service yearly across the city, which includes the city’s downtown core.
“Those calls have largely to do with property crime offences continue to rise,” said O’Donaghey.
Despite the fact that there has been no increase in the dangers facing people downtown, there will be a ramped up police presence in the weeks to come.
“We recognize that there has been an increase in concerning issues, including around City Park and Leon Avenue,” said Joe Creron, deputy city manager.
“The situation in downtown Kelowna is not unique and is seen across Canada. We’re continuing to invest in resources to ensure that our downtown continues to offer a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.”
The annual move comes just days after an altercation at the Queensway bus loop downtown that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old man. Esa Carriere died following the altercation late July 1 just as the annual Canada Day fireworks display ended nearby.
From now to September, four joint RCMP/bylaw bike teams will patrol the downtown and surrounding areas. Acting as “eyes on the street,” the rider will patrol seven days a week.
The city says the public will also notice more officers patrolling the streets on foot and in cruisers for increased safety.
Their efforts are supported by City of Kelowna park ambassadors and Downtown Kelowna Association ambassadors who provide a visible presence and resource for people seeking assistance.
The 2018 city budget added four more RCMP officers and four more bylaw officers to provide an enhanced security presence downtown. Those positions are currently being filled.