A number of windows at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries on Spall Road were recently smashed by unknown assaliants. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

Increase in property crime prompts Kelowna RCMP to change response

Police said along with theft and shoplifting, there has been an increase in break and enters

  • Sep. 24, 2021 12:00 a.m.

With an increase in property crime in the city, the Kelowna RCMP is making changes in its approach.

The detachment said that over the busy summer months, they’ve received an increase in reports in break and enters to businesses in Kelowna’s commercial areas, along with theft and shoplifting.

“The Kelowna RCMP works to respond intelligently to crime trends, and this is exactly what we are doing in this case,” Supt. Kara Triance said.

“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. There is work to be done throughout the community to ensure we all take steps to prevent criminals from operating here and we are committed to this continued effort.”

Last week, a number of local businesses in the Landmark District spoke out about the rash of theft-related crimes in the neighbourhood and how difficult it has been for them.

Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres owner Mike Hlushko in the 20 years he’s been in Kelowna, recent property crimes have been at an all-time high.

“Society is all bleeding hearts for them. I’m sorry — once you get your personal stuff stolen and everything, it starts to get hard,” he said.

“The police told me that their hands are tied. They do a bunch of paperwork and then they let them out the other side. They don’t have any money.”

The changes include an increase in patrols in the downtown and Harvey Avenue areas with vehicle, bike, and foot patrols, as well as plainclothes operations in problem areas.

The Kelowna RCMP’s street enforcement teams have also been restructured into two larger teams: Target Team and the Drug and Organized Crime Unit. The Target Team will focus on property crime, auto theft and prolific offenders, while the Drug and Organized Crime Unit will focus on drug trafficking and organized crime.

Both teams will be operational starting on Sept. 27.

“This change refines the overall mandate of our teams and eliminates crossover,” Insp. Beth McAndie said.

“By having focused and larger teams, we will be able to more effectively address this upward trend in property crime within Kelowna.”

Kelowna RCMP is also providing some tips on how to prevent a break and enter situation at your business or home:

  • Make sure your doors and windows are securely locked whenever possible.
  • Close and securely lock your garage, storage containers and compounds.
  • Record serial numbers for tools, bikes, and other valuables. This makes returning them to you easier.
  • Install a home alarm system, cameras, and motion detector lighting if possible.
  • Report suspicious behaviour or activity to the police as soon as possible.
  • Don’t give access to shared garages, lobbies, or parkades to others who don’t live there.

READ MORE: ‘It’s getting really bad out here’: Kelowna businesses concerned over recent thefts, vandalism

@twilamam twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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