Report: Child exploitation, robberies on the rise in Kelowna

A report outlining crime statistics from 2022 will be presented to the Kelowna City Council on Monday.

The report notes that crime in general will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

While overall service calls were down 6% last year, the downtown Kelowna area saw a 12.6% increase in service calls.

The RCMP’s Integrated Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) noted disturbing findings in the report, including a 21% increase in possession and access to child sexual abuse material nationwide, and a 67% increase in Kelowna. made it clear that

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ICE processed 70 files last year, compared to 42 in 2021 and 30 in 2020.

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Last month, the Kelowna RCMP confirmed that these crimes were on the rise in the city, resulting in the creation of a dedicated investigative team of police officers called the Internet Child Exploitation Unit.

According to the RCMP, the goals of the Kelowna ICE Unit are to ensure that children are not abused, remove the images from the Internet, and successfully prosecute those who accessed, created, and distributed the materials.

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Other notable trends in 2022 include robbery and business burglary, which increased from the 2021 baseline.

Robbery is one of the top concerns for communities and the Kelowna RCMP, up 43% last year. This is an increase of 33 from the previous year.

Kelowna saw a 26% increase in business break and enter. In response to the increased numbers, the RCMP launched a crackdown on high-priority repeat offenders last August, and reports show that crimes of this type have declined since then.

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