Law enforcers have had a busy year locking down criminals and reducing stats.
The Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP detachment’s second quarter (April through June) statistics show a 5.65 per cent decrease in criminal code cases from the previous year. Property crime was also down 16 per cent for the period.
“It’s a trend going in the right direction,” said Insp. Jim McNamara, acting officer in charge.
Officers were busy with 39 per cent more check stops over the same quarter last year and the impaired driving trend continues to drop – down 38 per cent this quarter from the previous year.
“I hope that’s because drivers are changing their habits,” said McNamara, applauding member efforts, especially the 11 who qualified for the annual Team Alexa awards, which recognize individual contributions to removing impaired drivers from the streets.
So far 2015 has been an extremely busy year for members.
“We had about a 10 per cent increase in calls for service in the first quarter, which is unusual,” said McNamara.
One area of crime that has seen a rise is motor vehicle incidents.
“MVA’s are up and that trend is occurring in most of our jurisdiction.”
One concern is distracted driving, which is still a major problem.
“From the information I’ve been provided, distracted driving is actually causing more injury than alcohol (in MVAs),” said McNamara.
Thefts have also been keeping officers on their toes with $70,000 worth of property stolen, including an increase in thefts from vehicles.
“Our task force has been extremely busy.”
But a focus on prolific offenders by crime reduction is proving valuable.
“One very active prolific offender can cause a dramatic increase,” said McNamara, noting that they can perform multiple thefts in just one night.
Meanwhile the detachment has been dealing with fewer resources.
The police dog services was operating with three members, but is currently down to just one.
Meanwhile three top officials have retired this year: Supt. Reg Burgess, Cpl. Henry Proce out of Lumby and now RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.
There’s also been a shift with the school resource officer. Cst. Kathy Szoboticsanec has held the position for the last seven years, but is moving to general duty watch. Cst. Dan Cocks (who served in Lumby) is taking over the school position.