Property crime incidents slowed down in the region

Property crime incidents slowed down in the Lower Similkameen.


RCMP efforts to curb property crimes have been successful Keremeos council heard Monday.

Cpl. Kat Thain from the Keremeos detachment discussed the decrease in break and enters and thefts from vehicles over the last few months.

She credited a regional task force in helping slow down the incidence of property crime.

“Every detachment donated a member (to the task force). Everywhere is seeing a reduction in property crimes. They know we’re out there,” she said.

Thain said a co-ordinated group was travelling the region stealing cars in one community, driving to another and either stealing from a home or business before ditching their first stolen car for another and returning to home.

“We’re aware of who they are and we have sufficient warrants out for them,” she said.

Although stats for most property crimes are about the same as previous years there was an increase in vehicle thefts.

In 2014 there were 19 stolen vehicles reported to RCMP while in 2015 there was 25.

“We did send out a release about the F-series trucks. They’re very easy to steal. We were telling people to club them or immobilize them in some way to try to reduce the number of thefts,” Thain said.

Although more people had their vehicles stolen in 2015, fewer people had their vehicle broken into and items stolen.

In 2014, there were 35 incidents of theft from vehicle reported and in 2015 the numbers was 23.

Break and enters to businesses and residences remained about the same despite there being a rash a fruit stand break ins nearing the end of summer.

In 2015 there were 12 businesses throughout the Keremeos RCMP coverage area that were broken into compared to 13 the previous year. There was a slight decrease in break and enters to residences from 15 in 2014 to nine in 2015.

Up significantly were reports of fraud to the detachment.

In 2014 there were six incidents reported which was doubled in 2015 with a total of 12 incidents reported.

Thain said frauds included the Canada Revenue telephone scam as well as a few door-to-door scams.

“It just breaks my heart every time I get off the phone with someone who has been scammed or confused by this scam,” she said.

Thain said RCMP hope to do an educational program with seniors and their families who they have identified as vulnerable to scams like the Canada Revenue Agency scam.

“Some people are still not getting so we thought we could tap into the families so this can be a topic for them. We were trying to get people to call us before they respond. People were checking in with us but that’s dropped off again,” she said.

Thain said a new RCMP member will be joining the team in March. Const. Matthew Groen is a rookie and Keremeos will be his first post as an RCMP officer.

A new public servant has also been hired. The detachment had been short staffed for a period of time resulting in the front office being closed on Fridays.

The office will be open Monday to Friday through the summer.

Councillor Arlene Arlow asked Cpl. Thain how tragedies like the one in Moncton, New Brunswick in June 2014 resulting in the deaths of three RCMP officers, affected policing in Keremeos.

Thain referenced the independent review of the tragedy referred to as the MacNeil report after its author Alphonse MacNeil.

“One of the things was that we have adequate fire power and rounds in the detachment, which we do,” she said.

Training is expected complete for all staff at the detachment for specific weaponry to be used in instances like the one in Moncton.

There will also be active shooter training completed at the schools in the area.

The Safe Schools Program will provide the detachment with floor plans and photos of the schools and allow for walk-thru and drills.

“We will do training for high risk areas and schools are high risk. This is the kind of training we’ll do for the rest of our careers,” she said.