South Okanagan RCMP officers provided an update on this year’s third quarter crime statistics on Thursday morning.
According to officers, assaults and property crime in the region have increased year over year.
“That was attributed and continues to be attributed to the drug subculture in Penticton,” said RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter.
“Bear spray was a common weapon they were using. Definitely concerning, but I need to stress that most of those knew each other.”
The Penticton region saw a 17% growth in assaults between July and September. Meanwhile, property crime has increased in the last four weeks, particularly targeting bikes and e-bikes. Auto theft has also been a growing issue for communities in the area, with most detachments seeing an increase in crimes targeting vehicles.
Officers also stressed that the policing resources they have to deal with were limited and that prevention measures on behalf of citizens can help curb the problem.
“It’s the bane of my existence. This is not victim blaming, we need to do a better job of locking our vehicles and removing all valuables,” said Hunter.
“It’s very, very frustrating, there’s a limited number of police resources out there and we would be better served for crimes that are occurring, not the ones that can be prevented.”
Hunter also referenced the fact that new judicial coronavirus measures have meant that repeat offenders were being freed more quickly and released to commit further crimes in the community.
“It’s very difficult to have people remanded,” said Hunter.
“Not that long ago we arrested a client with a stolen vehicle, in a stolen vehicle, with stolen property, with drugs, firearms, a prolific offender … but the individual was released the next day. So that’s just part of the recidivism we have to deal with, it can be a little bit frustrating.“