The Problem

For too long communities in our core, like Chinatown, have born the brunt of our city’s crime.  It’s not fair and it is a growing problem.

While I agree, most in our homeless population are vulnerable people who need compassion and assistance, we won’t tackle this problem with grandiose statements like the 10 year plan to end homelessness.  You can read my specific plan to stream our homeless in addictions and treatment help, along with a voucher designed to place people quickly into housing here.

The remainder of this plan will deal with crime and safety initiatives, including targeting the serial offenders who continually prey on their fellow homeless.  We can no longer hide from the problem, it is growing and our downtown is not safe.  Whyte Ave is also becoming dangerous with a recent string of murders and incidents.

So then, what can be done to address this problem?

Additional Community Police Officers

I am not immune to the rift between the public and the police.  We must repair and restore those relationships and a lot of it will rely on customer service. A growing portion of the population, including those I spoke with in Chinatown, don’t feel the police are providing solutions regarding repeat offenders. I agree with this, but we must also acknowledge the political will at City Hall has handcuffed our police officers from fully performing their duties.  I will speak on political will and prosecution later on in this article.

Police presence is a deterrent to crime. One of the biggest impacts we can make is to get police out of their cars and back on the streets of our communities.  This should address some of the gaps in customer service, provide deterrence, and provided added value in the efficiency of arrests and overall crime reduction.

As Mayor, I will push strongly, for the creation of 18 “foot patrol only” officers in our core.  The cost of this program is roughly $4 million dollars.  To put it in perspective, this is roughly 17% of what we gifted downtown developers in free grants.

Let’s get more feet on the street.

Encampments

The Parks Service does not have the manpower to properly patrol vagrancy and encampments in parks areas.  We all witnessed the protest camps in the summer of 2020 and the overflowing issues of crime and drug abuse.  We can’t allow those scenes to become annual occurrences.

This next policy point is a simply one: we must move the responsibility of vagrancy and encampments in centralized parks areas back into EPS jurisdiction.  The additional 18 officers I am committing to should assist in this endeavor.

Province & Prosecutors

Don’t underestimate political will!  As a Mayor, you need to prioritize your requests from the province so those priorities can become actionable.  The one thing I will ask for is better communication between the EPS (front line officers, chief of police & police commission) and our justice department along with the prosecutors on tackling serial offenders.

We need the political will at City Hall not to turn away from the problem and face it head on.

We have a serious problem with repeat offenders (or serial offenders) who are targeting our vulnerable homeless community.  They are further victimizing the homeless population and reducing the ability for social programs to work.  The province must not allow these criminals to continue wrecking havoc on our streets.  Our prosecutors must get tough.  Along with the Justice department, we must all look at additional measures to target and address this criminal element.