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City holding public online sessions on Penticton’s community safety report

Residents are invited to hear the results of the community safety review on Jan. 10 and 12
First responders working on an overdose victim in Penticton in September, 2022. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

The new report that states Penticton’s approach to community safety needs to be overhauled will be presented to the public at a pair of information sessions later this month.

Results from the 200-page, independent study about safety in Penticton were released in mid-December, with local fire crews removed from their core function and RCMP unable to proactively serve the community among the findings.

Curt Griffiths from Simon Fraser University and Anthony Haddad, the city’s general manager of community services, will present the report’s results at two online forums on Jan. 10 and 12, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Residents interested in attending the sessions are asked to register ahead of time here.

As part of the report’s research, more than 800 people in the city were asked through a survey whether they feel safe in Penticton.

Findings revealed that 62 per cent of women feel unsafe walking alone in their own neighbourhood. Nearly 80 per cent of all surveyed residents feel crime in the city has gone up in recent years, with the city’s commercial portion of Main Street and the Lakeshore area as among the places where people feel somewhat “unsafe” at night.

The report cites a lack of support from the B.C. government, increased homelessness and the ongoing opioid crisis as the root causes of Penticton’s apparent battle with making people feel safe.

The aforementioned Griffiths, meanwhile, comes from the School of Criminology at SFU and was tasked as the report’s lead researcher.

Results set for public review on Jan. 10 and 12 were previously revealed to council on Dec. 20.

Mayor Julius Bloomfield, along with the newly-elected group, would later endorse the report. As a result, its findings will now be considered when identifying “strategic priorities,” according to the city.

READ MORE: Mental health, opioid crisis pushing Penticton’s community safety to the brink: Report