Michaels: This is a safe community … mostly

“It is how a community deals with all these ever-moving elements that dictates its trajectory.”

Will you get shanked in Kelowna while getting groceries in the middle of the day?

Could you find yourself the target of a politically motivated military attack while strolling down the waterfront?

Seems very unlikely.

Like the 94 per cent of people polled in the City of Kelowna’s most recent Citizen Survey, I think this city is blessedly safe.

But we have some problems illustrated yearly by Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index (CSI).

Figures released Monday showed the Kelowna Census Metropolitan Area’s CSI to be the fifth highest in Canada, at 100.3. In 2015, the CSI was 98, but the city ranked fourth in the country—that was due in large part to crime surging in other cities.

The numbers themselves were influenced heavily by a lot of petty theft, break-ins and the like.

This is blamed on a no-good, hardened group of prolific offenders who ruin everything for everyone.

When we invoke their name, the great and good of this city clutch their pearls and the growing “unwanted element” in this community are derided, further calcifying the us-and-them issues that keep the paranoia running high and social boundaries fixed.

Fact is, Kelowna and every other city has always had crime and they’ve always had pockets of people who lean into it when the going gets tough because there’s no better choice.

The going has become tougher with an ever rising cost of living, a diminished supply of affordable housing and a weak job market. It can be disheartening.

It is how a community deals with all these ever-moving elements, however, that dictates its trajectory.

And despite the stats, it seems as though we’re headed in the right direction.

Mayor Colin Basran pointed out when I interviewed him for the annual crime story that this municipality is working to get people on the right foot through a variety of tools including addiction and mental health services or the homelessness strategy. Affordable housing is always on the agenda and they’ve approved a number condo projects to take the pressure off the rental market.

Time will tell if the strategies pan out, but the fact that we’re not talking about crime as simply an issue for police is heartening.

A lot has fallen onto the plates of municipal governments in the last couple of decades, and our local politicians are doing a good job addressing the growing pains in this city.

It’s not perfect, but it’s better than you get in a lot of other places.

Just Posted

East Shuswap Road wildfire’s fire line being controlled

Firefighters saved an eagle’s nest and eaglets while controlling fire lines

RCMP ask public to help locate missing West Kelowna teen

Madison Loutitt was last seen July 12

Thieves on the loose in Lake Country

The RCMP is looking for thieves who stole from vehicles and a liquor store

Indie film lovers unite in Kelowna

The third annual IndieFest starts today

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Your reviews: John Fogerty rocks the South Okanagan

Photos and reviews from fans in Penticton at John Fogerty’s concert in the SOEC

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

Most Read