“We are approaching a precipice in safety, feelings of safety and confidence in the criminal justice system in our communities.
This statement is found in a Community Trust in Justice (CCJ) advocacy document presented to Kelowna Council on Monday, May 30.
The document covers topics such as property crimes, prolific offenders, city actions and advocacy options. It indicates that a disproportionate number of property crimes in British Columbia are committed by offenders who persistently reoffend in a “catch and release justice system”.
The 2022 Community Safety Survey found that 96% of respondents feel safe in their neighborhood during the day and 77% feel safe at night, although this reflects a drop of 3% and 5%, respectively .
Although the city has invested resources in policing, community safety and social development initiatives (see below), the CCJ document argues that the provincial and federal governments have an important role to play in health, housing and justice mandates.
Advocacy actions suggested in the document include increasing local BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) resources, provincial reviews of BCPS’s 2021 charge assessment guidelines, bail policies and practices. /for adults, and the city’s collaboration with the province in federal advocacy.
City of Kelowna Safety Investments:
- $32 million invested to increase public safety personnel (2016-2022);
- 84% increase in the RCMP contracts budget ($27.9M in 2016 to $51.4M in 2022);
- Established positions of Social Development Manager (2017) and Community Safety Director (2019);
- Journey Home Strategy Sponsor;
- Facilitated the addition of over 350 new supportive housing units and over 125 net new beds in emergency shelters;
- $4 million in accessible government grants for social development projects;
- Launched (2019) and co-led a cross-sectoral community inclusion team;
- Kelowna Integrated Court Support and Advocacy (launched 2021);
- Development of an advocacy document on complex needs (2021);
- Lead Kelowna’s first Community Safety Plan (2022): a five-year action plan in collaboration with government and community partners.
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