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Penticton, B.C. business owner calls for immediate action following vehicle arson

Click to play video: 'Video of attempted arson prompts Penticton B.C. business owner to call for immediate action' Video of attempted arson prompts Penticton B.C. business owner to call for immediate action
Video of attempted arson prompts Penticton B.C. business owner to call for immediate action – Feb 16, 2022

Ongoing crime in Penticton, B.C. has one business owner calling for immediate action from city officials. This follows an arson incident in the downtown area, caught on surveillance footage.

In the video, one person pours liquid over of a row of parked cars while another one lights an object on fire. The pair then toss the lit object on top of the car, sparking a fire.

Read more: Help sought by Penticton RCMP in identifying suspected credit card thief

“The video that I posted was pretty shocking — just not a care in the world. It is very concerning as a business owner but also a Penticton guy with a family,” said Penticton business owner Ryan Graham.

“Our community right now has big city criminals in a small community. If nothing changes, then nothing changes.”

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The fire was quickly extinguished, and the vehicles were moved shortly after. The incident happened on Feb. 6, around 2:30 a.m.

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Graham’s security cameras captured the incident. He says that he has witnessed an increase in criminal activity in the downtown area.

“Bad individuals and criminals in our community, they operate so free that now there is absolutely no accountability and when there is no accountability then things only get worse,” he said.

“These last few weeks are telling a very clear indicator that we need to hit refresh. We need our city officials, councillors and mayor to support our RCMP. We are spending money on a magnitude of projects where I think the budget needs to redirect to help combat the issues we have in our community.”

Penticton RCMP continue to have the highest caseload per officer in British Columbia. According to Penticton Mayor, John Vassilaki, they are facing 172 cases per officer when the provincial average is 72.

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“I believe that Penticton RCMP are trying their hardest right now. I think really what is happening is that our judges are letting the same people out with long records. I think the Penticton RCMP are extremely frustrated, they are doing the best that they can with the resources that they have,” said Graham.

Read more: City of Penticton to conduct $75K community safety review

The City of Penticton says they have made community safety a focus for 2022. Plans to increase policing, expand bylaw, and review protective services are already underway.

“Our population is growing; in the last five years we have grown by 9.3 per cent. Our protective services also have to grow as our population grows,” said Vassilaki.

“We have hired Dr. Griffiths and Dr. Sopow to bring us back a report on what exactly Penticton still needs to protect from crime and other issues. This is in order to make sure our public feels as safe as possible in our community.”

Residents can submit their ideas on how to address safety concerns in the community by completing a survey. The survey will run until March 6, 2022.

“I strongly encourage the community to take part in the survey so we can figure how to best allocate protective services,” said Vassilaki.

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Graham says he has been in contact with the RCMP and did give them the surveillance footage. Global News reached out to Penticton RCMP, but did not receive a response.

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