Westward Independent

When Home Feels Unsafe: The Alarming Reality in British Columbia

by Westward Independent
0 comment

More than half of British Columbians fear living in their own communities. Let that sink in for a moment. How can that be acceptable?

Are B.C. citizens meant to simply hang their heads and wring their hands before carrying on their daily lives? We would hope not. A recent Research Co. province-wide public opinion survey found that more than half of  British Columbians think crime has increased over the past four years; 51 % personally fear falling victim to crime.  

The Business Improvement Association of B.C.,a Save Our Streets coalition member and representing tens of thousands of businesses throughout BC, has identified street disorder and crime and staff/customer safety as a key issue facing main streets and downtowns in B.C.   While we get caught up in debating decriminalization and safe supply, those committing crimes to feed their habits are dying and often fighting mental illness. We must focus on  programs that provide the best opportunity to help them put their addictions and life of crime behind them and give them the very best chance of returning to their families and communities as healthy, productive members of society. A comprehensive continuum of care is urgently needed on a regional basis to provide immediate detox and health evaluation, followed by treatment and recovery. These options are not available in many areas of B.C. and this lack of resources means wait lists and travel. Survivors of detox and treatment cannot simply be dumped back into housing surrounded by those still suffering from addictions and the drug pushers who prey upon them. Our governments need to stop finger-pointing at each other and work together. We advocate establishing a full continuum of care for those suffering from addiction and mental illnesses, including real-time monitoring of how many people are suffering from both addiction and mental illnesses in B.C. Other measures include recognizing which legislation and policies are required to speed up the judicial system, halt the revolving door for repeat violent offenders and eliminate the hurdles faced by police in gathering intelligence, investigating crimes, and laying charges. Finally, we need to establish key performance measures that can be publicly reported quarterly on a provincial basis to determine whether programs are succeeding. What gets measured, gets managed. Let’s reverse the trends. Let’s remove the fear. 

Jess Ketchum is the co-founder of the Save Our Streets coalition. saveourstreets.ca

You may also like

Leave a Comment

As a dedicated grassroots newspaper, we unearth exclusive valley stories and events that remain hidden elsewhere. With passion and fearlessness, we expose what happens behind closed doors, giving you a sneak peek into the heart of our community. Experience the pulse of our valley like never before. Welcome to a newspaper that punches above its weight, where local voices come alive with every turn of the page.

©2024 All rights reserved. Designed and Developed by WWIND.