Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Fed up with property crime in Penticton

It is time we take our city back from the criminals

I was very thrilled to see the outpouring of support with respect to the Skaha Lake debacle. I am now asking the same support for something I believe is just as important.

The mandate of Penticton City Hall, the RCMP and the courts is to ensure the safety of the residents of that particular city. That mandate is not being followed here in Penticton.

I believe the crime rate in Penticton has soared, especially property related crime. The problem is, that when these offenders are caught, nothing happens to them. One prolific offender with 63 (yes you read that correctly) charges against him in the past two years, still walks the streets and overtly commits crimes during the day. He was the subject of a Crime Stoppers search, yet spent less than a month in prison. The court punishment sheets say he can be sentenced to a maximum of two years, yet he gets probation. There is a brand spanking new jail in Oliver that needs filling.

The fault does not lie with the RCMP themselves, but rather because of the blind eye being turned by the city and the two judges who preside here. After a meeting on Thursday, March 16 with the senior RCMP member, it is obvious to me that Penticton RCMP members are just as frustrated as the residents with respect to the “rotating door” effect. The people in this city are fed up. Period.

I am to the point where I am tempted to write the judicial review board and the attorney general’s office to find out what is going on. The judges need to step up to the plate and grow a set when dealing with repeat offenders.

It was recently revealed publicly that four more RCMP officers would be added over the next five years. According to Kurt Lozinski, the senior RCMP member in Penticton, this is absolute baloney. He would be the first one to know, and he expressed to me he knew nothing about this. Smoke and mirrors.

I asked him point blank how many more officers would we need right now to do their job to maximum efficiency; his response was five. This would cost taxpayers approximately $500,000 per year. If that sounds like a lot of money, then consider the fact that council was willing to spend that on a stupid lighted archway in the 100 block of Main Street.

I personally wish the city would spend the money. It is tax money well spent. I am also planning on approaching our crown counsel, MLA and MP looking for support.

Where I need additional support is for a protest that is being organized as we speak. There is a plan in the works to protest light sentences for prolific offenders, with a protest on the 25 of April 15 at 2 p.m. This time and date is one of the the next court appearances for Penticton’s most prolific offender (The 63 charge man).

I would like all seniors (this really affects you), middle agers, young people alike to show up on this date and time. Some signs will be available, but your own home made sign would be more effective

It is time we take our city back from the criminals. If hundreds show up, the courts will have no choice but to comply.

If nothing changes, I can predict that the following will happen. The courts will begin to see otherwise law-abiding citizens in front of a judge for taking matters into their own hands, and I think we can all agree that this should be avoided at all costs.

Mark Billesberger