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Criminal activity drops in area
North Okanagan RCMP knocked crime down six per cent last year despite a rise in criminal code case files during the final quarter.
RCMP’s Vernon/North Okanagan Detachment reports a 4.58 per cent increase for the fourth quarter (October to December 2013), but a 6.06 per cent reduction year to date.
“So not a phenomenal year but a great year for policing,” said Supt. Reg. Burgess, officer in charge of the detachment.
Local officers ramped up road checks by 68 per cent for the final few months of 2013 and continue to keep an eye out for impaired driving. There was an increase of 20.7 per cent for impaired driving investigations.
The area detachment is also actively in pursuit of marijuana grow operations, two in November and December netted nearly 3,000 plants.
Along with stopping drug activity at the source, RCMP also netted 16 local dealers in a four-day undercover operation in September.
“It was the second undercover drug operation we were able to do this year,” said Burgess, also noting undercover operations directed at illegal activity of sex trade workers.
Break and enters rose in the later part of 2013 and continue to keep RCMP on their toes.
“We have two very active teams right now,” said Burgess. “We know who they are it’s just a matter of getting them in custody.
“It’s a cat and mouse game but we will eventually get the upper hand on that,” he said, adding that additional resources will be brought in if needed.
One area of crime a Coldstream politician would like to see more attention given is in the schools.
“There’s a lot of visible drug usage,” said Coun. Maria Besso.
Burgess says RCMP very rarely put undercover operations in schools but that administration are doing a good job of alerting officials when needed.
“All criminal activity at the school should be handled the same as any criminal activity in the community,” said Burgess.
Besso was also alarmed to learn there is a significant increase in mental health issues in youth in the high schools.
Similar to the situation with adults, Burgess says that stems from individuals who used to be looked after by the system and who no longer have that support. But various agencies are worked with to resolve situations and provide supports to such youth and their families.