There was a significant increase in robberies in Kelowna in 2022, but fewer persons crime according an RCMP year in review report.
Robberies (violence and threats of violence with property crimes) were up 43.3 per cent since 2021. It was a trend that was observed across the province.
RCMP refined reporting criteria in 2022 to align with provincial and federal best practices. It was done to ensure robbery was categorized appropriately going forward.
However, it may have contributed to some underreporting in the past. The data set shows a noted jump that RCMP expects to normalize with consistent file categorization.
Sexual offences were up 5.6 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021, while assault causing bodily harm and assault with weapon files were up seven per cent.
The Integrated Child Exploration Unit (ICE) dealt with 70 files last year, compared to 42 cases in 2021.
Calls for service with a mental health component dropped 6.7 per cent in 2022 over 2021, and service calls for overdose went up 9.7 percent.
The report, which is going to city council Feb. 27, also shows a decrease in residential break-and-enters (17 per cent) in 2022 over 2021, and an increase in shoplifting (17 per cent) and bike theft (17.7 per cent).
In response, RCMP began targeted enforcement of priority repeat offenders in mid-August, which resulted in a significant reduction in those crimes through the end of the year.
According to the report, offences by 28 prolific offenders on release totalled 483 in 2022. Statistics for 2021 were not given.
Of note, while there were 22 commercial robberies in the fourth quarter of 2021, there were 14 in the same quarter in 2022.
The reduction followed a proactive response by RCMP leading into the holiday season when robberies tend to spike.
Total calls for service last year were down six per cent, at 60,030 compared to 63,888 in 2021. Service calls from the downtown area were up more than 12 per cent.
There was also a 27 per cent jump in arson files in 2022 over 2021.
The report states that local RCMP initiatives for 2023 include a repeat offender working group and continued advocacy for complex care.
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