Petty thefts in Vernon dropped during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to police statistics.
The Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP released its second-quarter report showing thefts from vehicles cut by nearly half over April, May and June compared to the same time last year.
Meanwhile, thefts under $5,000 have also dropped by 38 per cent in the same time frame, although total police files are up to five per cent from this time last year.
The statistics do show upticks in files of robbery, sex offences and thefts of vehicles.
RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher presented the stats to Vernon councillors Monday, Aug. 17, and said it’s been a “successful quarter.”
During the peak of the novel coronavirus’ quarantine, while several businesses were forced to shut their doors, commercial break-ins jumped 150 per cent — from four to 10 — in April, but residential break-ins dropped from 19 to seven.
Baher said prolific offenders continue to drive crime in Vernon and between April and June, 16 prolific offenders were released back into the community.
Eleven prolific offenders reside within Vernon, four within the Greater Vernon Area and one is from outside the jurisdiction, according to the police report. Three remain in custody.
These individuals are identified as an adult or youth offender that are a medium or high risk to re-offend.
Over the past three months, police also recorded a 19.9 per cent increase in self-generated calls, while calls from the public dropped by nearly six per cent. This is due to more officers spotting and stopping incidents of crimes ahead of it affecting members of the public, Baher explained.
“That means the public isn’t being impacted by crime so much,” she said. “If we’re able to get out there and stop something before it happens… that’s what we’re looking for.”
This year, self-generated calls are up a total of 31 per cent.
In the second quarter of 2020, Vernon officers responded to 5,206 calls in Vernon, 1,498 criminal code offences and 914 property offences — 409 SEPTA (Street Entrenched Policing Target Analysis) files were recorded. Police forwarded 602 charges to the courts and held a total of 404 prisoners.
The RCMP, like everyone else, have been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The local detachment was quickly adapted to ensure the safety of its officers and members of the public. Extra cleaning and protective measures were implemented, including the use of an electrostatic sprayer.
The local detachment didn’t close during the peak of the pandemic, but it did limit its front desk access and a leave restriction was put in effect. This meant there were more officers available to respond to calls of service. Fifty-six RCMP officers serve the City of Vernon.