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Kelowna city council close to unveiling three crime-fighting initiatives

Click to play video: 'Kelowna’s mayor plans to fulfill election promise to reduce crime'
Kelowna’s mayor plans to fulfill election promise to reduce crime
Kelowna’s mayor plans to fulfill election promise to reduce crime – Feb 27, 2023

Kelowna mayor Tom Dyas says he ran on a promise to reduce crime and he plans to fulfill it.

“Crime was a major election issue, you know, where Kelowna sat as number one statistically with regards to crime,” Dyas told Global News.

The mayor made the comment Monday afternoon just ahead of hearing the RCMP present the 2022 crime report to city council.

Dyas said council is very close to unveiling three crime-fighting initiatives that are “all actionable items that will make a difference.”

While Dyas wasn’t ready to share what those three initiatives are, he said they will be made public sometime next month.

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“The only reason why that is … is because tomorrow we have another meeting and we’re going to confirm that those are still our top three priorities that we’re going to address,” Dyas said. “So I want to make certain that all of council, everyone is in agreement that those are our priorities and then by all means that will become a public document.”

The 2022 crime report was presented to council by Kelowna RCMP Insp. Beth McAndie. She noted that general crime returned to pre-pandemic levels last year.

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Overall calls for service were down six per cent, however, Kelowna’s downtown area experienced a 12.6 per cent uptick in calls for service.

Click to play video: 'Kelowna businesses raising concerns over homeless population'
Kelowna businesses raising concerns over homeless population

Robberies and business break-and-enters increased from the 2021 baseline.

Robberies were up 43 per cent in 2022 compared to the previous year while break-and-enters jumped by 26 per cent.

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At the Oh baby Consignment store on Ellis Street, owners were not surprised at the rising numbers.

“Not at all,” said store co-owner Carrie Fahlgren. “We have now been broken into twice in the year and a half we’ve been open.”

“The first time they just smashed the front window so it was a matter of replacing the front window and our door. The second time they did that, but also entered and took what they could.”

Fahlgren said she’s had to have bars installed to prevent another break-in.

“I don’t have an answer. I just hope that there is something in place to try and improve this,” Fahlgren said.

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B.C. anti-gang agency says younger and younger people getting involved in organized crime

The crime report also stated that in response to the rising break-in numbers, RCMP began targeted enforcement of priority repeat offenders last August and that since then there has been a reduction in these types of crimes.

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“‘I’m pleased to share that with additional data analyst resources and refined data-led strategy engaged in the last quarter of 2022, we were successful in driving down business breaking and enters,” McAndie told city council. “Carrying into January 2023, we’re seeing some great indicators from our response.

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