By Lyonel Doherty
An RCMP report indicates that break-ins have been more of a problem than property crime in Oliver during the past year.
A quarterly report by the regional detachment shows that business break-ins are up 117 per cent (from six in the second quarter of 2018 to 13 in the second quarter of 2019.
Other break-ins to sheds and outbuildings have increased 260 per cent (from five in the second quarter of last year to 18 in the second quarter of this year).
When you compare the two quarters, auto theft in Oliver is up 100 per cent (from 13 last year to 26 this year).
Residential break-ins are up 30 per cent (from seven to nine), and causing a disturbance is up 43 per cent.
Although incidents of mischief saw a small jump from two to five, that represents a 150 per cent increase.
Domestic violent crime jumped from three incidents to six, which is a 100 per cent increase.
The biggest drop in incidents was 67 per cent in the theft from vehicle category (from 63 in the second quarter of 2018 to 21 in the second quarter of this year).
Other drops were recorded in property crimes and mental health incidents.
The top 10 calls for service in Oliver between January and July of 2019 were: assist fire and ambulance (94), traffic incident (79), theft (67), alarm (56), assault (49), suspicious circumstances (42), abandoned 911 (41), assist general public (36), property (36) and suspicious person (32).
RCMP Superintendent Ted de Jager will present his quarterly report to the regional district on Thursday.
In it, he refers to the Community Active Support Table (CAST) that has been “instrumental” in reaching out to vulnerable street people impacted by mental health and addiction. So far, the program has dealt with more than 50 situations where people have been at elevated risk.
He said this is one more step towards solving the root causes of crime and social disorder. He pointed out that mental health calls, in concert with addictions-related calls, are on the rise.
“At the end of the day, very few of the people we see on the street are free from trauma.”
De Jager noted that people suffering from mental health and addiction are not criminals but are accountable for their actions.
“Enforcement activities alone cannot solve homelessness and addictions, only a community can,” he pointed out.
The superintendent said social conditions continue to drive police response, meaning they can’t spend much time targeting people who commit the majority of crime. More than 70 per cent of the Penticton RCMP’s calls for service are not criminal in nature and do not result in charges.
On a positive note, de Jager said violent crime continues to be the lowest percentage of their calls for service.
The officer acknowledged people’s frustrations regarding how much time officers spend in the office as opposed to patrolling.
“They were preaching to the choir. The members would like nothing better than to hit the road and look for the bad guys, and they do so every chance they get.”
De Jager recently cautioned the public against vigilantism, saying members of the public who take the law into their own hands could find themselves in jail.
“Vigilante type activity will never be a solution to lowering incidents of crime, but Block Watch will.”
In his report, de Jager mentioned some of the major investigations that RCMP are involved in. For example, the quadruple homicide involving accused John Brittain. The court heard recently that his ex-wife’s home in Penticton was vandalized to the tune of $10,000.
Police continue their investigations into eight child pornography cases, de Jager said, noting the investigator is often required to review hundreds of shocking photos.
He noted their prolific offender investigations reveal that some of the culprits have more than 40 convictions to their name.