Supt. Ted De Jager (right) the new commander of Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen Regional Detachment with Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth during a walk through downtown Penticton. De Jager is hosting a town hall and community policing forum Wednesday, July 12. Mark Brett/Western News

Supt. Ted De Jager (right) the new commander of Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen Regional Detachment with Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth during a walk through downtown Penticton. De Jager is hosting a town hall and community policing forum Wednesday, July 12. Mark Brett/Western News

RCMP update Penticton city council on crime

Quarterly report shows

Supt. Ted De Jager wants to see more of RCMP officer’s time spent on cases that produce charges.

According to the quarterly report he delivered to Penticton city council Tuesday afternoon, about 57 per cent of the detachment’s calls in the region don’t result in charges. That can include unfounded and unsubstantiated calls, but also those dealing with mental health issues.

In Penticton alone, the ratio is even worse.

“Sixty-four per cent of the detachment’s time is being spent on things that won’t result in a file,” said De Jager. “The goal is to reverse that.”

Related: Penticton crime rate highest in Valley

He explained the intent isn’t to shift the burden of mental health calls to other agencies, but to address the root causes of those files. Part of that comes under one of his 2017 priorities, to create a four to five member Community Response and Enforcement Team building on the work of the Targeted Enforcement Unit.

Targeting the most prolific offenders led to decreases in calls, likewise CSET focuses on mental health, homelessness, problem locations, traffic concerns, youth and overall engagement.

“That is going to drive a lot of visibility and engagement in the community,” said De Jager, whose report sets out increased accountability, through increased engagement with communities and agencies.

Following up on the policing forum held in June, a Community Police Advisory Committee is also being planned, chaired by local government members, incorporating residents, business leaders and stakeholders.

When it comes to crime rates in the region, De Jager points to property crimes, especially theft from vehicles, as being key areas.

“Auto theft is definitely a big ticket item,” said De Jager, who added that could be reduced by people taking more care to secure vehicles and not leaving high value items sitting on the seat in plain view.

In his written report, De Jager points out that a reduction in minor theft will allow the members of the detachment to focus even more on the prolific offenders who cause the majority of crime.

Both business and residential break and enter crime rates have dropped, but there has been an increase in B&Es to structures like garages or outbuildings.

“We are seeing a lot of tools, power tools and other things that are easily fenced,” said De Jager, who attributed the situation to increased vigilance on the part of home and business owners for their main building.

“They tend to forget about their garden shed,” said De Jager, explaining that as property crimes are targeted, criminals seek easier prey.

De Jager’s report sets out five priorities for the RCMP detachment developed through an analysis of crime trends, consultation with the community and discusssion with local government: Crime reduction, domestic violence and prevention, road safety, community engagement and ongoing developing and training of RCMP members.

“Taking care of the lifegaurd helps us take care of the people in the pool,” said De Jager.

When we start to target people for doing that, they start going to other items.

Related: Mayor’s minute: Frustrations about crime heard and felt