The Kelowna RCMP detachment said it’s ramping up proactive patrols and forming two larger teams to combat a spike in property crime in the Central Okanagan city.
Police said the tourism-driven summer months resulted in an increase in thefts, shoplifting, and break and enters to businesses in commercial areas.
“The Kelowna RCMP works to respond intelligently to crime trends, and this is exactly what we are doing in this case. We are altering the way that we are structured and we will continue working with our partners to address this spike and prevent further crimes,” said Supt. Kara Triance.
“As a society, we must also recognize that many of these crimes are tied to more complex social issues with underlying root causes. The Kelowna RCMP is further committed to our continuing work with our partners, including the City of Kelowna, Interior Health and the Ministry of Justice to address these concerns.”
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Meanwhile, the Kelowna RCMP Community Safety Unit increased patrols in the downtown and Harvey Avenue areas, including vehicle, bike and foot patrols in known problem areas.
The street enforcement teams have also been restructured into two larger teams under the unit name of Proactive Enforcement.
The two teams will now be the Target Team and the Drug and Organized Crime Unit.
The Target Team will have a mandate of property crime, auto theft and prolific offenders, while the Drug and Organized Crime Unit will focus on drug trafficking and organized crime.
“This change refines the overall mandate of our teams and eliminates cross-over,” said Insp. Beth McAndie.
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“By having focused and larger teams, we will be able to more effectively address this upward trend in property crime within Kelowna.”
The Kelowna RCMP is also urging residents to take steps to make their property less appealing to opportunistic thieves.
“Our files have shown that almost half of our break and enters to businesses and parkades have involved an insecure door or someone allowing criminals to access secure areas,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.
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“An example of this trend is a parkade where a side door is propped open, or a business where the compound isn’t locked properly at night.”
Kelowna Mounties did not release the latest property crime statistics, nor say if more funding would be dedicated to tackling property crime.
Here are some tips to help prevent property crime:
- Ensure that you lock up. Keep doors and windows secured and locked whenever possible.
- Close and secure your garage, storage containers and compounds. When you leave them open, it gives thieves an opportunity to see what you store there.
- Record serial numbers of tools, bikes and valuables. This information allows police to return stolen property when it’s located.
- Install a home alarm system, cameras, and well-placed motion detector lighting if possible.
- Report and suspicious behaviour or activity to your local police as soon as possible.
- Don’t allow people to access shared garages, lobbies, or parkades if they don’t live there.
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