The District of West Kelowna’s crime rate dropped 30 per cent in three years, according to an annual review of RCMP services in the community.
West Kelowna council was advised at its meeting Tuesday that the crime rate in West Kelowna decreased significantly over the period of 2009 to 2011 from a rate of 70 in 2009, or 70 offences for every thousand residents, to 54 in 2010 and to 49 in 2011.
In addition, the case load of the West Kelowna RCMP members also decreased by approximately 30 per cent.
Whether it is directly attributable to policing levels or not is unknown, but over the same time period, West Kelowna also had the highest officer-to-population ratio amongst 30 other municipalities with populations over 15,000. It had 21 municipal officers or one officer for 1,305 people.
The average crime rate was 66 among these communities, ensuring the rating of 49 put the district among the most crime free smaller communities in the province.
Nevertheless, the district chose to add two more officers—a school liaison officer and a drug investigations officer—in 2012.
“I know the residents of West Kelowna will find this news very encouraging as West Kelowna council has heard many people say that a safe community is their top priority,” said Mayor Doug Findlater in a release issued following the meeting. “A 30 per cent decrease is significant and it is very gratifying to see that the hard work of our RCMP officers is obviously paying off.”
The West Kelowna RCMP Detachment houses a total of 46 members, including 23 for West Kelowna, 16 for provincial policing, 4 for Peachland and 3 for First Nations policing.
The District of West Kelowna entered into a Municipal Police Unit Agreement on April 1, 2009 which includes the requirement of an annual report reviewing service levels, workload and calls for service. Quarterly policing statistics are also provided to Council as part of its strategic planning updates throughout the year.