Kelowna is seeing a return to pre-pandemic property crime rates, according to an RCMP report going to council on May 30.
A comparison of Q1 2022 with Q1 in 2021 shows a 63 per cent increase in shoplifting, a nearly 48 per cent increase in auto theft, a 15 per cent increase in residential break-and-enters, and a 13 per cent increase in commercial break-ins.
Assault with a weapon files saw a 41 per cent increase, and robbery and sex offences were up 25 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. Calls for service with a mental health component were down from 773 to 703, while mental health apprehensions were down to 145 from 155. Illegal drug trafficking saw a 60 per cent drop, while total calls for service for the downtown area were up more than 64 per cent.
Kelowna Detachment Superintendent Kara Triance said the increase in assault with a weapon files is a concerning trend across the country.
“In March 2022, Public Safety Canada (PSC) reported an 81 per cent increase in violent offences involving guns since 2009,” said Triance. “That month, PSC announced $250 million for community-based prevention initiatives. Kelowna RCMP, in partnership with the city will be exploring opportunities under this fund in the coming months.”
Triance added RCMP, along with its partners and other response agencies, is prepared for summer and a post-pandemic return to public spaces.
“We have optimized shifting, schedules, and resourcing, detailing plans with readiness and for seasonal events, increased populations, and emergencies.”