Okanagan residents could be forgiven for wondering what the heck is going on in their once-idyllic corner of paradise. Fear and violence have replaced fun in the sun as what’s making headlines in the Okanagan this summer.
A proliferation of high-profile and violent crimes have left many fearing that big-city problems are encroaching on the once sleepy tourist destination.
Gunshots rang out in the gated community of Sandbridge on Penticton’s South Main Street early Tuesday. The shooting claimed the life of a 55-year-old Penticton woman, with her 56-year-old common-law husband charged with the murder. That incident came less than 48 hours after a hail of bullets flew outside the Delta Grand Okanagan Hotel in Kelowna, leaving notorious gangster Jonathan Bacon dead and Hells Angels member Larry Amero in critical condition.
The shootings came as a shock to the community still reeling from a pair of violent sexual assaults and the police warning of another potential high-risk offender living within our midst.
The immediate reaction to the recent proliferation of violence is to question what is becoming of this place we call home. And what can be done to prevent the outbreak of violent crime from spreading even further.
The truth is nothing significant has changed in the community that would lead to the recent spike in violent crime, and very little can be done to assure ourselves that we wont see more blood unnecessarily shed in the future.
No community is immune to the issue of domestic violence and the potential for sexual predators to be living among us. The same lure that fills our beaches with tourists can also draw gang members to our streets.
So while these latest incidents shouldn’t be viewed as a reason to spread panic through the community, they should serve as a reminder that we are not isolated from society’s dangers and we must ensure that we take every available precaution as we continue to go about our daily lives.
— Penticton Western News