Penticton RCMP focus on prolific offenders

RCMP Superintendent Kevin Hewco said there is a general increase in crime rates in 2015.

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RCMP Superintendent Kevin Hewco delivered his annual report to Penticton City council on March 7, showing a general increase in crime rates in 2015, especially in break and enters and other property crimes.

Hewco said he would not classify the spike in property crime as alarming and added that an increased focus on prolific offenders by the detachment is expected to bring that under control.

“For a period of times, some property crime types got a foothold,” said Hewco. “Within the last six weeks, we have managed to identify five individuals within the city that are causing havoc, property crime and drug wise. Two of them are in jail as we speak and have received sentences.”

On Feb. 25 RCMP arrested three people believed to be linked to a rash of property crimes in the South Okanagan. Bree-Anne Buhler, William Gaddy and Waylon Faulhafer were arrested in Edson, Alta. with the assistance of Penticton RCMP. Mounties said they found a “significant” amount of stolen property after executing a search warrant at a residence linked to the trio. Multiple firearms, explosives, vehicles, motorcycles, electronics, identity documents and drugs were found.

Hewco said Penticton isn’t unique; communities throughout the Okanagan saw a spike in crime last year. In Penticton, he said the Prolific Offender Management program was “off the rails last year due to other priorities.” Penticton had two homicides last year, which consumed a large amount of policing resources.

“We do feel we are in a position to get it up and running again,” said Hewco. “I know we will see a difference in short order. Generally you should see drug possession charges go up and property crimes go down.”