As the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment gets set to prioritize its next strategic plan, Supt. Shawna Baher gave statistics to Vernon council for the end of the 2016-19 plan.
Crimes went up in the fourth quarter of 2018 (October to December) but dropped slightly for the entire year.
Crime reduction, communication and road strategy were the top three priorities of the 2016-19 strategic plan.
“For the fourth quarter, we saw a 19.5 per cent increase in Criminal Code offences, as well as a 24.81 per cent increase in property crime,” said Baher at Vernon council Monday. “Overall for the year 2018, compared to 2017, Criminal Code offences decreased by 0.1 per cent, and property crime decreased 3.72 per cent.”
As for road safety initiatives, road checks/stops increased 30.43 per cent and there was a decrease of 11.9 per cent in alcohol-related enforcement.
“Moving forward, we will be reassessing our priorities and initiatives as we undergo our strategic planning for 2019-2022,” said Baher, who noted her detachment has partnered with Interior Health on a pilot project at the Vernon detachment cell block in order to support individuals at high risk to overdose who find themselves involved with police.
Individuals who abuse opioids develop a high tolerance to the drug through continued use and any break in the use pattern, such as a period of being jailed, may result in a reduced tolerance which would put them at greater risk of overdose.
“Naloxone is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids,” said Baher. “Police officers from the Vernon detachment have been trained to offer intra-muscular naloxone kits and training to prisoners in custody, as well as information regarding harm reduction services in the area.”
Interior Health provided the naloxone kits free of charge. Training is provided by an online service.
Baher also told council the six RCMP positions approved by Vernon council for the detachment in 2018 have now been filled.