Penticton RCMP respond to Statistics Canada report, say they’re aware of ‘unfounded’ incidents

The RCMP detachment in Penticton, B.C.
The RCMP detachment in Penticton, B.C. Google Maps

A long and comprehensive report on crime in 2018 released earlier this year by Statistics Canada drew a response from Penticton RCMP on Thursday.

The report included many topics, such as an increase in police-reported incidents, stating there were more than two million Criminal Code incidents in 2018, “almost 69,800 more incidents than in 2017.”

The report also broached ‘founded and unfounded’ incidents, including sexual assaults, which resulted in Thursday’s response.

READ MORE: ‘It’s appalling’: Women’s advocates outraged Kelowna RCMP dismissed nearly 40% of sex assault complaints last year

“Penticton RCMP confirms it is aware of the recent Stats Canada results, wherein 2018 Penticton RCMP received 29 reports of sexual related offences, 11 of which were deemed unfounded following a police investigation,” said the police press release.

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“Although we are not in a position to discuss specific cases, we assure the general public that we take these reports very seriously and remain accountable for our investigations.

“We recognize that sexual crimes can be a life-altering event, and we continue to encourage survivors of sexual assault to report these crimes to police.”

READ MORE: Kelowna mayor backtracking on unconditional support for RCMP sex assault investigations

According to Statistics Canada, of the 88 reported sexual assaults in 2018 in Kelowna, 35 were deemed ‘unfounded.’ That translates to nearly 40 per cent (39.8), far above the provincial average of 15 per cent.

In Penticton, there were 29 reported incidents, with 11 classified as unfounded, or 37.9 per cent.

In Vernon, there were 34 reported incidents, with eight classified as unfounded, or 23.6 per cent.

Across B.C., there were 3,662 reported incidents, with 540 classifed as unfounded, or 14.8 per cent.

Kelowna crime stats disappoint mayor
Kelowna crime stats disappoint mayor

In its report, Statistics Canada said it had changed its meaning of unfounded.

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According to the new definition: “An incident is ‘unfounded’ if it has been determined through police investigation that the offence reported did not occur, nor was it attempted.”

“With the new definitions for founded and unfounded, there is an onus on the police to confirm that a reported incident did not take place, rather than to confirm that a reported incident did take place.”

Also in Thursday’s response, police said, “Penticton RCMP is monitoring and will pay close attention to the results of the review underway in Kelowna for any trends that may apply.”

Vernon business owner speaks out about ongoing crime issues
Vernon business owner speaks out about ongoing crime issues