Crime rate remains low

Criminal activity has plunged across the country and that appears to also be the case locally.

Criminal activity has plunged across the country and that appears to also be the case locally.

A new Statistics Canada report states the police-reported crime rate fell nationally by three per cent from 2011 to 2012, and is the lowest since 1972.

“In the last three years, we have been exceeding the national averages,” said Cpl. Gerry Kovacs, with the Vernon RCMP’s strategic planning unit.

Vernon was not specifically identified in the Statistics Canada report but a report from the local RCMP detachment states overall Criminal Code offenses were down 1.28 per cent in 2012 from 2011.

Kovacs says the 2012 figures are a direct result of the detachment’s commitment to crime reduction.

As an example, is the program that ensures individuals are meeting the terms of their curfew.

“There was a gap in the delivery of service so we have taken on that responsibility. Those people need to be monitored,” he said, adding that there can be a link between curfews and criminal offenses.

A crime analyst also reviews data to identify individuals and trends of interest.

“We are constantly in need of change and efforts to deal with prolific offenders,” said Kovacs.

The Statistics Canada report states Kelowna had the highest crime rate in Canada, with a six per cent increase in 2012.

“When a community in close proximity is not trending in the same direction, we want to have a focused approach on what we do here,” said Kovacs.

“We want to make sure we don’t have a spill-over.”

The crime rate increase in Kelowna in 2012 is believed to be largely a result of property offences.

“As the incoming officer in charge of the Kelowna regional detachment, it is my goal that Kelowna is never again mentioned in a Stats Canada report on crime unless it is recognized for significant reductions in crime,” said Insp. Nick Romanchuk in a release.

Overall case load at the Vernon detachment grew from 27,065 in 2011 to 28,100 in 2012.

However, much of this is being linked to non-Criminal Code activity.

“This includes impaired drivers and everything that comes in,” said Gord Molendyk, Vernon RCMP spokesperson.

“Officers are dealing with panhandlers which creates a file. Not all files are full criminal acts.