Members of the public joined the City of Penticton mayor and some councillors at a public meeting with RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager on Tuesday evening at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. (Kristi Patton — Western News)

Penticton RCMP said drug addiction driving crime rate

A community meeting was held with the Penticton RCMP this week

The bad guys are going to work when you go to sleep.

In short, it is one of the messages the Penticton RCMP is sending to the public to remind them that there are certain things they can do to protect themselves and their property—including not leaving valuables in their vehicles, making sure their doors are locked and informing police about issues.

“If the whole watch is on and there is seven police cars rolling around town there is no way we can cover that entire area. We need you to be the eyes and ears and the people looking out for their neighbours to call that information in when they see it,” said Supt. Ted De Jager. “I can’t help you if you don’t call me. I want to make this very clear that this is not a criticism of resourcing levels, this is a reality.”

READ MORE: Penticton RCMP ramping up downtown patrols

According to De Jager, who spoke at a community meeting on Tuesday at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, 60 per cent of the work the members are currently doing is not police work. He said it is health work, addictions, mental health and dealing with the people misbehaving but not doing anything criminal. He said the Community Active Support Table (CAST) is an example of other agencies stepping up. He explained that more of that collaboration is needed to get police officers doing their proper jobs.

The CAST group meets once a week to address social concerns, to connect individual at elevated risk with services so they are off the streets. However, addiction problems are still driving the crime rate up.

READ MORE: Penticton RCMP narrowing down on B&E suspects

“This is the biggest drug epidemic to ever hit this country. Over 70 people in the last two years have died … in the South Okanagan from overdoses. I say that is a pretty staggering statistic,” said De Jager.

The drug section, enhanced patrols, incoming youth liaison officers and working with other agencies are all ways RCMP are trying to keep tabs on prolific offenders.

“Is the majority of property crime committed by the same people? Yes, yes, yes, yes. It is, absolutely. We have people that are super prolific—40, 50, 60 convictions—those are the people out preying on the community and those are the people that we have to either send to jail, send to treatment or whatever. We have to stop them from preying on the community. Those are the people we need you to call in about,” he said.

Many of the people that showed up to the meeting were frustrated with the court system.

De Jager said if people are not satisfied with sentences of criminals in court, or they want to see more help for those with mental illness, they need to make their voice heard with the different levels of government to implement change.

“My members’ job, in a football analogy, is to get the ball to the 80-yard line. Its Crown and the courts job to decide if they are going to go for a field goal or whether they are going to go for a touchdown and put that person in jail. That is way beyond me. My job is to continuously get the person who is committing the crime and victimizing this community in front of the people whose responsibility it is to take the next step.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CHIME finds four days of noise, twelve days of silence from space

The radio telescope picked up the first recorded pattern in radio signals from space

Summerland’s Justin Kripps picks up back-to-back bronze medals in weekend racing

Canada’s two-man bobsleigh is third in the rankings heading into the World Championships

Meet the ultimate Penticton Vees fan

Jon Race owns an epic collection of Vees jerseys and hasn’t missed a home game in 15 years.

Mink farm once operated in Summerland

From 1967 to 1973, the Nielsen family raised mink

Penticton Vees clinch overtime win against Bulldogs

The Vees came from behind in a thrilling 3-2 win over Aberni Valley at home.

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Most Read