Penticton RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter provided some insight into why there were substantial swings in crime trends over the second quarter of 2021.
During his presentation to the regional district board, Hunter spoke to the dramatic increases in shoplifting by 71 per cent, threats by 50 per cent, and mischief by 32 per cent.
One of the key takeaways regarding the threats was that they were not related to COVID-19. Out of the 24 per cent that was directed to staff at businesses, most of which were security or loss-prevention staff. Another 18 per cent were between neighbours, roommates or between tenants and landlords, 17 per cent between people either currently or formerly in relationships and 54 per cent were between people who knew each other.
The increase in the number of shoplifting cases isn’t as clearly connected or disconnected to COVID-19.
“Perhaps the relapsed COVID-19 restrictions in Q2 2021; more people in stores, more travel once the restrictions eased and that type of thing,” said Hunter. “The most frequently targeted category was food, and that accounts for 23 per cent of them.”
The single largest point for those shoplifted items came from a single grocer on Main Street which Hunter did not name, which accounted for 32 per cent of all the shoplifting cases.
Out of the mischief files, 43 per cent were due to social issues, such as unwanted persons, drug use, mental health and homelessness issues. The other substantial amount was 19 per cent of mischief to vehicles, which is hard to distinguish at times from attempts at stealing from a vehicle.
On the other hand, bike thefts dropped by 18 per cent, which was attributed to less opportunities from people who are looking to grab bicycles.
Sgt. Andrew Bayliss, who coordinates the rural detachment for Penticton, offered some speculation on the possible reasons for the drop, including the cancellation of some events during the summer months that would normally bring cyclists to the community and more people being out and active with their bicycles.
In addition, Hunter spoke about an upcoming campaign in coordination with the city ahead of the three major cycling events coming in the fall including the Granfondo and Iron Man.
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