Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:
The City of Williams Lake is part of a unified voice in northern British Columbia recognizing crime as a community issue, not just an RCMP issue.
Mayor Kerry Cook and Chief Administrative Officer Darrell Garceau, as well as Williams Lake RCMP detachment commander Inspector Warren Brown participated in a Northern Crime Reduction Strategy meeting Nov. 28 in Prince George. Leaders from seven communities - Williams Lake, Terrace, Prince Rupert, Prince George, Dawson Creek, and Fort St. John, and Quesnel participated in the meeting. The seven municipalities represented at the meeting are among the top 20 Canadian communities in the Crime Severity Index (CSI).
The group discussed common challenges and approaches to reducing crime. It was shared that prolific offenders are a huge concern to communities. Strict conditions on their behavior while not in custody are required, and that from a policing perspective, there are three prevailing trends: crime of opportunity, substance abuse, and prolific offenders.
The operations strategy branch for “E” Division is working on a strategic policy addressing crime within the province. This strategic policy will promote collaboration of a number of ministries, and is considering regional hubs for service integration. The policy will aim to establish best practices in community wellness initiatives that address community policing challenges.
“We are talking about a philosophical change to reducing crime,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “There needs to be a fundamental shift in how community policing is being addressed, and how communities need to look at community wellness. The Province is considering an integrated, cross-ministry approach, which supports the community collaboration efforts in Williams Lake.
“Crime is tied to wellness, and we need to look at ways to improve broad community well-being, not just look to the police and the justice system to address crime. Health, education, and recreation services are all factors in wellness.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Crime Reduction and veteran criminologist Dr. Darryl Plecas will bring the Premier’s blue-ribbon crime reduction panel to hold a roundtable consultation session in Williams Lake in January. Stakeholders will have opportunities to discuss current crime reduction approaches in the context of successes, challenges and gaps, as well as new opportunities. Stakeholders will have opportunities to discuss current crime reduction approaches in the context of successes, challenges and gaps, as well as new opportunities.
Dr. Plecas will deliver a summary of the panel's findings to Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton by June 14, 2014. The report is to summarize current crime reduction initiatives, identify potential challenges and concerns, provide the broader results of the stakeholder consultation and recommend opportunities and next steps.