Gang activity not observed in Summerland

While Kelonwa and to a lesser degree Penticton deal with gang-related problems, Summerland has avoided a gang scene here, police say.

While Kelonwa and to a lesser degree Penticton deal with gang-related problems, Summerland has avoided a gang scene here, police say.

Cpl. Bruce Haley of the Summerland RCMP said larger urban areas are more susceptible to gang crimes than smaller communities.

He added that Summerland, with its aging population, does not tend to draw gang activity.

“We’re very fortunate in our community we don’t have this issue,” he said.

According to the 2011 census, Summerland had a population of 11,280. The median age was 52 and those over 55 accounted for 45 per cent of the total population.

Gang-related activity targets much younger people.

The average victim of gang-related violence is a 30-year-old man with a criminal past. In Summerland, there were just 375 men between the ages of 25 and 34, according to census data.

Those at risk of joining gangs are between the ages of 17 and 23. In Summerland, there were a total of 880 people in this age bracket.

Because there is gang activity elsewhere in the Okanagan Valley, there is sometimes a gang presence in the area, as members travel past the community.

“At certain times, there have been issues with biker gangs,” Haley said, “but there’s nothing noticeable in Summerland.”