Summer safety preparations are well underway
The summer season is nearly here, bringing sunshine, beach time and a lot more activity to our city. That activity means more demand on police and community safety resources, and preparations to meet the need are already underway.
“Summer brings a lot of excitement and visitors to Kelowna. It represents the busiest time of year for our community safety responders, and we all have a role to play in making the summer season safe. The City, Kelowna RCMP and community partners work to proactively address safety needs and keep Kelowna safe,” says Community Safety Director Darren Caul.
City Council recently approved an annual one per cent Community Safety Levy to help respond to community safety needs. In 2023, this provides funding for an additional six RCMP officers, four Bylaw Services officers, two Police Services support staff and one Community Safety Services employee. That funding combined with significant staffing transfers to the Kelowna RCMP in fall 2022 means residents can expect a visible presence on Kelowna streets this summer.
The RCMP’s Community Safety Unit will be patrolling Kelowna’s streets on bike, foot and by police vehicle, focusing on criminal behaviour, public intoxication and other social disorder offences. The Youth Officer program will be underway this summer, focused on patrolling known hotspots and interrupting offences committed by youth. RCMP will continue deploying bait bikes throughout the city to help catch and convict repeat bike thieves.
Targeted enforcement of repeat offenders, which was renewed in August 2022, led to decreases in business break-and-enter offences in the last quarter of 2022. This focused approach continues in 2023 with greater patrols in identified hotspots, which have already led to several arrests.
“As our summer season approaches, we continue to prepare to showcase our vibrant city and all it has to offer to our visitors and locals by working with our community partners to ensure public safety,” said Officer in Charge of the Kelowna Regional RCMP Detachment, Superintendent Kara Triance. “Our officers remain prepared and vigilant for the warm weather and we look forward to the summer season ahead.”
In addition to RCMP efforts, Bylaw Services has been staffing up in advance of the busy season, with four officers on bike patrol this summer. Residents will also find enhanced Bylaw Services web content added to kelowna.ca this year, including more user-friendly information on commonly-used bylaws and a new chatbot.
The City’s Community Safety Services team, in partnership with the RCMP, is launching targeted initiatives to reduce bike theft, business and residential break-and-enters, and other crimes affecting our community.
This year’s Meet Me on Bernard will include a Bike Valet service, providing a safe space for cyclists to park their rides. Additionally, residents can now borrow a secure bike lock at the reception desk when visiting the Parkinson Recreation Centre thanks to our Loan-a-Lock initiative.
A Community Safety Toolkit and Business Safety Toolkit were just published providing practical steps residents can take to reduce crime. Find them at kelowna.ca/safety.
“The toolkits provide simple but effective ways for residents and business owners to promote safety, like locking their doors, establishing a 9PM routine, securing their bikes and other property, and reporting crimes to police. There’s additional information about local initiatives, like the Block Connector program, that encourage neighbours to engage with and keep an eye out for one another,” says Caul. “When the public, our partners, police and prosecutions are doing their best to prevent and respond to crime, we are best positioned to ensure our community is safe and feels safe.”
Residents can become a Block Connector under the City’s Strong Neighbourhoods program, which aims to build a sense of community and connectedness on every street, apartment and condo complex in Kelowna.
Park and beach visitors are reminded that all parks are vape, e-cigarette and smoke-free and any type of outdoor wood burning, including campfires, whether in a park or in a backyard, is not permitted at any time in Kelowna.
Who to call, when to call
If you see criminal or nuisance behaviour, please report it.
City of Kelowna Bylaw Services:
For more information, visit kelowna.ca/safety.