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RCMP inspector reports on Williams Lake crime

With 13 of 14 known offenders out of jail last summer, Williams Lake RCMP saw an increase in crime in the city.

With 13 of 14 known offenders out of jail last summer, Williams Lake RCMP saw an increase in the number of car thefts, and break-ins of businesses and homes.

“Things had been going well, but the summer was definitely a blip,” Inspector Warren Brown told city council Tuesday.

Crime rates still remain below the higher rates seen in 2008, however, Brown confirmed it has been a bit discouraging recently.

Around 25 people were responsible for 95 per cent of property crimes. Most offenders are transient and do not live in one location, making it difficult for the RCMP to establish a starting point for investigation.

Another challenge has been the recent changing of the guard at the local detachment.

“We’ve had a number of senior officers leave and since January had eight new younger cadets arrive to work here.  You can say it’s a rebuilding year for us,” Brown said.

Acts of mischief, such as graffiti and rocks being through windows are on the increase, as well as the number of young people engaging in violence, using machetes and bear spray as weapons.

“The hard thing is that they choose to engage in this behaviour and that’s the challenge we face,” Brown said of the violence.

Improved communication in and around domestic violence is still a priority and the Williams Lake RCMP has identified a successful program from the North Okanagan it plans to glean from.

Relationships with First Nations communities are going well, Brown said.

“We’ve got good policing in those communities and I cannot underscore the strong leadership in those communities and the fact we’re constantly being invited to participate in community events.”

Boitanio Park continues to be a concern for the community. A stakeholders meeting is planned for Nov. 1 to share information from an analysis that was completed by crime reduction personnel from Vancouver.

The intent of the meeting, which is closed to the public, is to develop solutions that will deter behaviour that Brown said “can no longer be tolerated.”

On the upside, there has been a steady decline in false alarm calls, a statistic Brown attributed to work the city has done.