By Lyonel Doherty
No doubt some Oliver residents are thinking they are now living in the crime capital of Canada, not the wine capital . . . correction, Canada’s Wine Capital.
A home invasion, one person shot in the face, two murders, numerous thefts and break-ins. Even garbage cans are reportedly being stolen. (You can steal my garbage anytime.)
When is it going to stop? Hate to be pessimistic, but it won’t, and we are only hearing about the higher profile incidents that the RCMP has time to release to the media. If they released everything, imagine what people would think – “Pack your bags, honey, we’re going to Amazonia.”
There’s no doubt that Oliver is a lovely place to live and raise a family. It’s a welcoming town with great schools, a hospital, beautiful parks, a new hotel, and a slew of strategic priorities set by Town council. Oh, and Station Street paving is done. Hooray!
But like many towns, Oliver struggles with crime. In the last six months it seems like more criminals have come out of the woodwork to hold their own private convention in Oliver. What, was there a big prison break that BC Corrections didn’t tell us about?
The two recent homicides (one on Wilson Mountain Road and one near Gallagher Lake) are still active investigations with no suspects identified yet.
Oliver RCMP has done a great job getting some offenders off the streets, but it’s a real challenge keeping up with all of the crime school graduates in the South Okanagan.
A very disturbing story out of Osoyoos last week stunned even the most jaded when a woman with a butcher knife confronted a mother at home and asked to see her baby. I thought this only happened in horror movies. Not anymore. Kudos to the Osoyoos RCMP for making the subsequent arrest.
Crime fighting advocate Michael Guthrie continues to push his petitions to pressure government to give Oliver two additional RCMP officers, and for the Town to establish security cameras in the community.
There is some debate that these cameras might be invasive to public privacy, but Guthrie maintains they are legal and necessary to curb crime in our neighbourhood.
Perhaps it’s time to make these concerns political instead of sitting back and waiting for some divine intervention.
Of course, instead of complaining about crime in your backyard, you can always do something about it by joining Oliver Crime Watch or setting up a Block Watch group in your neighbourhood.
Be a part of the solution, not the problem. In other words, don’t be an armchair police officer. Be sure to read Nicole Kriesel’s article. It’s a very good perspective on the RCMP and their workload.