Crime prevention / RCMP
Policing services for the City of Kelowna are provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and guided by a crime reduction strategy. The RCMP have proudly served Canadian communities for more than 130 years, establishing a reputation as one of the most respected police forces in the world. Check out the Kelowna RCMP webpage for more information.
Our investment in safety
We take crime prevention seriously, investing one quarter of tax dollars in police services and fostering a great reporting relationship with the RCMP.
The 2016-2019 Crime Reduction Strategy guides RCMP efforts and includes the following goals:
- Prevent crime before it occurs through a proactive approach
- Work with partner agencies for more effective policing
- Maximize the efficiencies of resources through an intelligence-led model
- Effectively communicate public safety
Survey says Kelowna residents feel safe
Here are some key findings from a 2019 survey of Kelowna residents:
- 99% of residents feel very safe or somewhat safe in their neighbourhood during the daytime
- 98% of residents feel very safe or somewhat safe in their residence during the daytime
- Open-ended responses from respondents mentions low crime rates as the primary reason for why they feel their neighbourhood is safe relative to others in the city.
We commissioned NRG Research Group to conduct a telephone survey to 300 randomly selected residents in Kelowna in early 2019. The objectives of the survey were to:
- Determine Kelowna residents' perceptions of their own neighbourhoods
- Assess Kelowna residents' perceptions of crime and feelings of safety in regions and citywide
- Assess changes in perceived levels of property crime within the last 12 months
- Determine which crime-related problems cause worry
- Assess the role that crime/ potential crime and victimization plays in residents' daily lives
- Determine the prevalence of criminal victimization of residents and the extent to which crimes are reported to the police
The Crime Prevention Unit seeks to increase community awareness about crime and safety issues, and generate a sense of responsibility within every individual to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of crime and victimization.
This term, one of Council’s priorities is community safety. This coincides with the citizen survey in which respondents cited low crime / feeling safe most often as a key element for making a city a good place to live.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
A team of City of Kelowna staff, trained in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), routinely conducts audits and reviews locations of City projects, parks, neighbourhoods and new supported housing developments. Landscaping, lighting, signage to amenities and services and how people move in the space are all considered to create opportunities to build a welcoming sense of community that attracts activity.
While most of the City's work is focused on public spaces, homeowners can use the same principles to limit the opportunities for crime on their property:
- Create spaces that show pride – ensure you don’t have overgrown landscaping, keep trash off your lawn, stay on top of required repairs
- Have a visible street address – so your home is easy to locate in an emergency
- Ensure all exterior lights are working
- Keep your garage and car doors locked
- Don’t leave ladders or tools outside that can be used for break and enters
- Lock second floor windows and doors when not at home
The safety and well-being of a neighbourhood is achieved when residents work in collaboration with one another, supported by community resources.
Contact your Crime Prevention Unit for information related to:
Creates a partnership between police and citizens that draws on members of the community for help in preventing and reducing neighbourhood crime. It’s a neighbour-helping-neighbour program that teaches citizens to secure their property, be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activities to the police.
Child ID is a program made available to parents who wish to have a way of uniquely identifying their young children. Specially trained community policing volunteers will take the child’s fingerprints and turn the fingerprints over to the parents (the RCMP don’t keep a copy). The parents are encouraged to attach a current picture of their child (the latest school photo) to the fingerprints and store them in a safe place. Should the need to identify the child be necessary (I.e. abduction), the fingerprints offer absolute proof as to the correct identity of the child.
Coordinated enforcement is a police-lead initiative intended to bring relevant partners together to discuss areas of concern associated to uncivil and criminal behaviour within the city and develop an integrated response plan to address the issues identified. Representatives from p0lice, bylaws, downtown business community, parks, parking, UBC-Okanagan and private security agencies work collaboratively to establish strategies to address issues negatively impacting the downtown core.
Anyone can become a victim of a fraud, scam or identity theft. There are many types of known scams and new ones created daily. The Crime Prevention Unit provides up-to-date information on common frauds and scams, and offers basic steps to prevent victimization from these types of crimes.
The Crime Prevention Unit offers the senior contact program for individuals who live alone and don’t have a caregiver checking in or visiting on a regular basis. Program participants will receive a brief telephone call at a predetermined time every day (usually between 9-11 a.m.) to ensure the person is okay.
The Partners for a Healthy Downtown committee is a police-lead initiative established in June 2005 to address uncivil and criminal behaviour in Kelowna's downtown area. The committee is comprised of representatives from the downtown business community, local health authority, social service agencies and their associated outreach (street-level) workers, along with police, bylaw and private security working downtown. The committee provide opportunities to build relationships, resulting in greater collaboration and information sharing.
Theft prevention tips - Don't be an easy target
Theft in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan is on the rise. Don't be an easy target. One quarter of all thefts are from vehicles or homes left unlocked and unsecured. Theft is a crime of opportunity. To take that opportunity away and protect your property:
- Remove valuables from your vehicles
- Lock your vehicles’ doors and roll up windows
- Lock your home’s front and back door and secure windows
Reporting a theft
Residents who notice a robbery or suspicious activity are asked to report it right away so the RCMP can react quickly and will have a greater chance of catching the criminal(s).
Bike theft prevention
A bike is stolen every 30 seconds in Canada. By following three simple steps – lock, register and report - you can protect your bike.
- Use a high-quality lock designed for bicycles. Avoid inexpensive cable and chain locks.
- Lock a wheel and the frame to a secure bike parking structure. This disables the bike from being ridden and makes it difficult to attack with tools.
- Never rely on a cable lock as the primary means of securing your bike.
- Never lock only the top tube. The thief may damage your bike trying to twist the lock apart, or can ride away if they break through the rack.
- Never lock only a wheel. Thieves will quickly remove it, attach a stolen wheel and ride away on your bike.
- Never leave your bike locked up outdoors overnight. Any lock can be removed with enough time and the right tools.
- Never leave your bike unlocked in your garage, bike cage, balcony or on your car.
Register your bicycle with 529 Garage - an online or mobile registry that the Kelowna RCMP can access when stolen bikes are recovered. Register your bike so that police, insurance agencies and the community have the necessary information to help recover your lost bike. Registration is free and only takes five minutes.
Stolen bikes often go unreported. Reporting a theft improves the chances of your bike being returned.
You can report your stolen bike through the RCMP online non-emergency crime reporting tool or by calling 250-762-3300 to file an official report with the RCMP. You can tap “missing bike alert” in the 529 Garage app, and after a few questions an alert will be sent through the 529 network and social media.
Watch for your bike online, checking sites like Craigslist, Kijiji and eBay. Contact the RCMP if you find your bike online and work with them to assemble a plan. Never attempt to recover a stolen bike without police involvement.