Crime in Penticton is significantly down compared to the same time last year.
A 2020 second-quarter report, presented to Penticton City Council on July 21, by RCMP Superintendent Brian Hunter, showed that the only area of crime to increase was theft from vehicles, which is up four per cent from 224 to 234 calls.
All other areas of crime were down.
Comparing the second quarter of 2019 to quarter two of 2020, RCMP found that total calls for service are down 16 per cent. Assaults and assault with a weapon causing bodily harm, are down 11 per cent. Sexual offences are down 25 per cent, uttering threats are down eight per cent, and domestic violence calls are down 23 per cent.
Total violent crime is down nine per cent.
Auto theft is down 58 per cent, bicycle theft is down 32 per cent, break and enter to businesses is down 43 per cent, break and enter to residences are down 20 per cent, break and enter to other places (sheds, outbuildings) is down 54 per cent. Mischief to property is down 20 per cent.
General theft (items) is also down 31 per cent. Shoplifting is down 54 per cent. Fraud is down 14 per cent, property crime is down 24 per cent, all according to the RCMP report.
Despite the fact crime might be down in the city Supt. Hunter said, that doesn’t mean it’s cause for celebration or a good news story.
“Anyone who has been a victim of crime, and we have a lot of victims of crime in this community, to hear that crime is down and things are good, it’s very insulting, it’s very upsetting.
“It’s great that the numbers are trending in the direction that we want, but there’s still a lot of crime here,” said Supt. Hunter.
RCMP successfully focusing on repeat offenders, Supt. Hunter believes, is one of the reasons crime is down.
He listed the following as reasons crime is down:
- Worked with city to re-visit ‘watch clerk’ system. This has allowed RCMP officers to have more pro-active time on shift. Pro-active work includes surveillance on drug dealers, on chronic offenders, curfew checks, pulling over a driver, bike and beach patrols. Members currently have six minutes per hour that they can spend working pro-actively. The watch clerk, active every shift, takes administrative load off officers, allowing them more time in the community.
- A new reserve program, which hires back retired police officers, now contribute to the RCMP force. Several reserve constables are now active at the detachment, including one recently who is an expert in crime reduction, and dealing with prolific offenders. Breach charges have increased significantly as a result in this quarter.
- Several search warrants have been executed in the past quarter; loaded firearms have been seized, as well as stolen property, and many prolific offenders have been arrested. Supt. Hunter’s focus is holding these individuals to account.
Supt. Hunter also pointed to the pandemic for reasons overall crime might be on the decrease.
People’s routines have changed, thus reducing the opportunity for crime, he explained.