Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: More resources needed to fight crime

I recently read the cop-out with respect to the wave of property crime where the new prison is being blamed for a rise in crime. What a load of malarkey.

The statistics for crime in B.C. for the year 2015 state that Penticton came in worst, with 14,280 charges filed per 100,000 capita. The next highest was Kelowna at about 12,800. We were worse than places like Surrey, which is famous for its high crime rate.

Property crimes have risen 40 per cent in the first three months of 2017. This is due to improper budgeting on the part of mayor and council. This is due to an insufficient number of police officers in this city. This is due to inaction by the Crown when dealing with repeat offenders. This is due to Crown counsel making deals with defense lawyers to get their client a lesser charge. This is due to the fact that prolific offenders constantly strategize with their attorneys so they can be in front of one specific judge who is known for his leniency. This is due to places like Vancouver where the social workers give their worst cases a one-way bus ticket to the Okanagan.

Crown counsel should refuse any deals after a criminal has appeared more than five times for the same charge. Start giving these repeat offenders something more than a slap on the wrist.

If someone is caught for theft because he is trying to prevent his family from starving to death, then I can see a judge being a little lenient and sympathetic. When someone steals to fuel his or her meth addiction, I have zero tolerance or sympathy. More court ordered rehab is needed; and not for two weeks. Make it one year so they actually have a chance of getting clean. Get rid of the drug dealers, and property crime will plummet to an all-time low.

I predicted in my last letter that the courts would begin to see law abiding citizens in front of a judge for taking matters into their own hands. I received a phone call last Friday from a man who says he caught someone in his yard trying to steal something. That victim responded by striking the thief, and apparently, the RCMP wanted to charge him with assault. What has happened to this country where the criminals have free reign and law abiding citizens have little recourse? Why not just hand them the keys to the city?

We need to turn things around so that criminals know this is not the place to come and commit crimes. Take care of the crime, and watch the tourists start flooding back.

What we really need in this city is a couple of “Judge Roy Bean” types sitting on the bench. Enough said, I think I’ve made my point. To city hall, Crown counsel, and our two judges who hear these cases, all I can say is it’s time to buck up. We have the right as citizens to feel safe.

Mark Billesberger

Penticton

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